Protests Stop Military Recruiting in New York City: 30 Arrested

339 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012

Luke Nephew, 978-501-0810 (Bronx)
Eric Laursen, 917-806-6452 (Manhattan)
John M. Miller, 718-596-7668 (Brooklyn) or Ruth Benn 917-975-8230 (Brooklyn)

For immediate release

Protests Stop Military Recruiting as Antiwar Demonstrators Protest on Second Anniversary of Iraq War; 30 Arrested

March 19, 2005 - Armed Forces recruiting centers in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx were transformed into centers of protest today as scores of antiwar protesters set life-size coffins at their entrances or blocked their doors.

At about 11:00 this morning, when the Bronx Army-Navy-Air Force-Marine Corps center would ordinarily have been conducting business at Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse, six life-sized coffins representing U.S. and Iraqi casualties of the Iraq war were lined up next to the entrance to the center. About 60 demonstrators held a vigil in front of the building, handing out antiwar leaflets to passers by in the busy Bronx shopping area.

A little later, in Brooklyn and Manhattan, some 300 protesters converged on each of the recruiting centers on Flatbush Avenue and at Times Square. Some two dozen conducted a symbolic die-in in the street in front of the Times Square station, where 24 were arrested. Another eight people were arrested in Brooklyn for blocking the doors of the Flatbush Avenue recruiting center. No one was arrested in the Bronx because, with the center closed for business, there was no one to ask the protesters to leave. They stood peacefully in front of the building, handing out leaflets and reading out the names of U.S. armed forces members from the Bronx who have died in Iraq.

The demonstrations in New York City were three of hundreds of protests at recruiting centers across the nation called by peace and justice groups to mark the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Each demonstration was preceded by a solemn procession carrying the coffins to the recruiting site.

Shortly before the demonstrations, Frida Berrigan, an organizer with WRL later arrested in Times Square, explained the significance of the coffins: "We carry coffins representing the more than 1,500 American soldiers who have died and. Some coffins are draped in black fabric to represent the more than 100,000 Iraqis who have been killed and others are draped with the American flag to represent the 1,512 American soldiers killed so far. The White House has tried to hide these deaths from the American people, but the sorrow will not be silent."

Long-time War Resisters League activist Ruth Benn, arrested in Brooklyn, added, "We march to military recruiting stations throughout the city today to demand an end to the wasting of young lives in war. We counsel young people to consider alternative paths to jobs and education." She predicted that "many of us will put our bodies between the recruiting stations and the young people they want to use as war fodder. We will shut them down."

Organized by the New York City War Resisters League, these events were just a few of the more than 750 actions taking place in all 50 states today. Sponsoring organizations include United for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, Socialist Party USA, Voices in the Wilderness, Brooklyn Parents for Peace, Park Slope Greens, Catholic Worker, Code Pink, Not in Our Name, Ya-Ya Network, Socialist Party of NYC, Industrial Workers of the World (NYC GMB), One Thousand Coffins, Grandmothers Against the War, Progressive Programmers League, Kairos Community, World War III Arts in Action, among other organizations.

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.

More details of this event can be found on the web site, http://www.warresisters.org/counter-recruitMar05.htm.

War Resisters League
339 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10012

Informant: John M Miller

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März 2005

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