Aug. 30, 2004:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ruth Benn (718-768-7306)
Frida Berrigan (347-683-4928)
Ed Hedemann (718-768-8841)
CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE ACTION PLANNED AT REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION
New York, NY — At 7 pm on Tuesday, August 31, a mass nonviolent “die-in” at the Republican National Convention will be staged by the War Resisters League and other organizations as a protest to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The die-in will be proceeded by a 3 pm vigil at the site of the World Trade Center on Church St. (and Cortlandt St.), followed by a solemn procession up Broadway beginning at 4 pm. The procession will pause at Union Square (17th & Broadway) allowing more protesters to join the march before it continues at 6 pm towards Madison Square Garden.
Besides the War Resisters League, sponsoring organizations include the Socialist Party USA, School of the Americas Watch, Voices in the Wilderness, Progressive Programmers League, The Mourning Project, and Ground Zero for Peace.
These organizations and the individuals involved feel the need to engage in civil disobedience in order to dramatize their vigorous opposition to United States government’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.” Participants in the civil disobedience will have undergone special trainings in nonviolence.
Among those supporting the die-in will be NYC Council Deputy Majority Leader Bill Perkins, who is expected to participate in the 3 pm vigil at “Ground Zero,” while many supporters will be joining the procession to Madison Square Garden. Perkins has been outspoken is his support for taxes for peace rather than war.
“Our aim is to confront the administration with the death and suffering for which they are responsible.” commented Frida Berrigan, WRL National Committee member. Berrigan continued “Besides the 10,000 Iraqis and Afghanis killed, the 1,000 Americans who have died, and the thousands more wounded and scarred for life, the Bush military priorities have created economic victims -- the unemployed, the uninsured, the undereducated.”
“We intend to take our message -- that war is a bankrupt and counterproductive method of solving international disputes -- directly to the floor of the Republican Convention where we will stage our nonviolent die-in,” notes long-time WRL activist Ed Hedemann, “though the police will probably prevent us from getting that far.”
This civil disobedience is part of a full day of nonviolent direct actions in coordination with the A31 Action Coalition that will be happening around Manhattan. No permits have been granted nor have they been sought from the city of New York by the organizers of these events.
More details of this event can be found on the Web site at www.warresisters.org/RNC_CD.htm.
The War Resisters League is an 81-year-old secular pacifist organization, headquartered in New York City, and is affiliated with the War Resisters’ International, which is based in London. WRL believes war to be a crime against humanity, and advocates Gandhian nonviolence as the method
for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation.
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