MARCH 27, 2003
Johnny Zokovitch, 852-219-8419
Michael Jones, 814-964-0078
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Religious Leaders
Arrested in D.C. Action;
Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Aimed at Stopping
the War in Iraq
- March 27 - Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Jody Williams, two former
winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, and dozens of religious leaders
jumped barricades close to The White House to protest the Bush
administration's war against Iraq. Maguire, the 1976 Nobel Peace
Prize winner, and Williams, the 1997 recipient, joined United
Methodist Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, Roman Catholic bishop Thomas
Gumbleton, and former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg
in leading a group of 68 demonstrators arrested Wednesday afternoon
by D.C. Park Police.
"I am here
to break the law because my conscience tells me I must, and because
each of us have a moral responsibility to do all we can, in a
nonviolent way, to oppose the evil of this immoral act of aggression
and war by the United Kingdom/United States administrations, against
the will of we the people of the world," said Maguire.
At a press
conference just prior to the action, Bishop Sprague explained
his reasons for undertaking an action of nonviolent civil disobedience.
"The United Methodist bishops have sent four letters to the president
and vice president, whom many of you know are both Methodists,
seeking a meeting to discuss this war," stated Sprague. He went
on to say that that they only received "one terse reply" from
the Bush administration and no meeting.
of the action marched to Lafayette Park at the corner of Madison
and H Street, where D.C. Park Police had closed and barricaded
the park. Individually and in small groups, protestors began jumping
the barricades in order to gain access to the park, where they
held a solemn prayer service mourning the victims of this war
and challenging the Bush administration to put an end to the violence.
anticipating the park closure, had earlier instructed a separate
group of demonstrators to enter the park, well before the planned
action. As the first group of protestors began to breach barricades
at Madison and H Street, the unrecognized protestors already inside
the park crossed barricades onto Pennsylvania Avenue and led a
prayerful witness directly in front of The White House.
of Detroit, who traveled to Iraq in January, was among those arrested
in Wednesday's action.
of faith and conscience, we proclaim that it is a grave sin to
support this war," said Gumbleton. "We cannot stand silent while
the Bush administration murders innocent men, women and children."
The 68 arrested
were charged and released by 9 p.m. Ten of those charged were
instructed to appear in court on April 18; the remainder were
ordered to appear May 29.
religious denomination in the world has condemned the Bush administration's
war against Iraq as a crime against peace," said Dave Robinson,
national coordinator of Pax Christi USA. "Today, Buddhists, Jews,
Christians, Muslims, human rights and peace activists united our
voices against a war which is immoral, unjust, unethical and unnecessary."
were sponsored by Pax Christi USA (www.paxchristiusa.org),
the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Sojourners, the Shalom Center,
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the United Church of Christ
Justice & Witness Ministries, and the Washington, D.C.-area Buddhist
|Common Dreams NewsCenter is a non-profit news service
providing breaking news and views for the Progressive Community.
press release posted here has been provided to Common Dreams NewsWire by
one of the many progressive organizations who make up America's Progressive Community.
you wish to comment on this press release or would like more information,
please contact the organization directly.
*all times Eastern US (GMT-5:00)
Read our Guidelines
for Submitting News Releases
1997-2003 Common Dreams.