Trial of One of Largest Mass Arrests Protesting Iraq War Begins Friday
Defendants Participated in the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq on March 16
Washington, D.C., June 20, 2007 – The trial of fourteen of the 222 citizens arrested during the March 16 Christian Peace Witness for Iraq civil disobedience in front of the White House will begin Friday, June 22 in Superior Court. The civil disobedience was one of the largest single civil disobedience actions at the White House, and the Christian Peace Witness was the largest Christian peace demonstration since the beginning of the Iraq war four years ago.
"While our President continues pursuing a failed policy of escalating violence in Iraq, fourteen courageous citizens are continuing their own witness against the war," said Rev. Andrew Foster Connors, one of the organizers of the civil disobedience action and pastor of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. "If thousands more of us were willing to present our own bodies as living sacrifices, perhaps another mother would be spared the loss of her son. Perhaps the President would be forced to listen to the will of the people, end this war, and bring our troops home."
A worship service at the National Cathedral attended by thousands from across the country began the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq, which was followed by a candlelit procession to Lafayette Park for a rally before the civil disobedience action began. More than one hundred local vigils took place the same day around the nation. Participants attending the public witness intended to repent of their complicity with the invasion and occupation of Iraq and to renew their commitment to peacemaking on the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq.
The trial is open to the media and the general public. Veteran civil rights lawyer Mark Goldstone, who has worked in similar fashion with Cindy Sheehan and many other demonstrators over the past 20 years, will serve as attorney advisor to the group.
WHAT: Trial for 14 out of 222 arrested during the March 16, 2007 Christian Peace Witness for Iraq in front of the White House for either crossing a police line or failing to obey a lawful order.
WHEN: Friday, June 22, 9 am
WHERE: Superior Court, third floor courtroom (check with information desk, 500 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Phone 202-879-1010)
WHO: Defendants: Mary Pat Brennan, Debby Churchman, Louie Vitale, Bill Streit, Vicki Andrews, Nancy Gowan, Liz McAlister, Jerry Zawada, Elizabeth Adams, Malachy Kilbride, Susan Crane, Garland Robertson, Eve Tetaz, and Kay Warren.
Defendants had the following to say regarding the upcoming trial:
"The attack on and occupation of Iraq is totally against my moral and spiritual beliefs and I feel I am obligated to do whatever I can to show my concern and try to end this tragedy. I have tried demonstrating, working in the political process, lobbying, and contacting my Congressional representatives. I came to Washington, D.C. from a small town in northern Minnesota to be a part of the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq. I hoped that a large group of people of faith, praying earnestly together for peace, would make a difference." – Vicki Andrews, Minnesota
"I was moved by my deepest long-held convictions that war is wrong and participated with other people of faith on March 16 in an action of hope for peace in front of the White House. War is immoral and contrary to my steadfast belief that there is that of God in everyone. Jesus taught us that another world is possible and that the path to that world begins with understanding, forgiveness, and love. My participation on March 16 is a testimony of my faith in action to my belief in forgiveness, understanding, love, and that without question another world is possible." – Malachy Kilbride, 40, Friends Meeting of Washington in Washington, D.C. He has risked arrest and been arrested several times for peace and torture abolition issues, and his first act of civil disobedience was in March 2003 after he signed the Iraq Pledge of Resistance in September 2002 in the months leading up to the war and invasion of Iraq.
"I knew right from the start that this war in particular was not the answer to September 11, but as the war dragged on, I realized more and more I just could not go about the ordinary business of my life while people were dying needlessly and that it was up to me to take a clear and visible stand for peace in partnership with other committed people of faith." – Mary Pat Brennan
SPONSOR ORGANIZATIONS: Adventist Peace Fellowship, American Friends Service Committee, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, Brethren Witness, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Christian Alliance for Progress, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Declaration of Peace, Disciples Justice Action Network, Disciples Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Every Church a Peace Church, Faith in Public Life; Kairos: A Time to Speak, A Time to Act; Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Peace and Justice Support Network of Mennonite Church USA, National Council of Churches, No2Torture, On Earth Peace, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Pax Christi USA, Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Protestants for the Common Good, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Sojourners/Call to Renewal.