Journalists among 26 arrested at SOA Vigil 2010, Fort Benning, GA
Photo caption: First arrest scaling fence to protest tax dollar approved blackops & darkops training Fort Benning's SOA. Photo credit and caption by Twitter user @atizine (used with permission).
Nonviolent civil disobedience action by activists was followed by indiscriminate arrests by local police, including the targeting of journalists. Among the 26 arrested were three journalists, including a TV news crew from RT America as well as unrelated bystanders. Again this year thousands of activists gathered at the gates of the U.S. military base Fort Benning to call for the closure of the School of the Americas (renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). Following the SOA Watch rally, human rights activists brought their nonviolent witness to close the SOA into the street leading onto the military base. The activists briefly shut down the road with a large sign that said, "Stop: This is the End of the Road for the SOA." Their action continued a longstanding tradition of creative civil disobedience, calling attention to global atrocities committed by graduates of the School of the Americas. SOA Watch reports that twenty-six were booked and held in the Muscogee Jail, including 90-year old Jesuit priest Bill Brennan and ordained Catholic priest Janice Sevre-Duszynska. Most of the charges were for criminal trespassing and failure to disperse, acts that SOA claims they did not commit. Two human rights activists, however, 78-year-old Louis John Vitale and 78-year-old Nancy Smith, crossed onto Fort Benning through the highway entrance in a deliberate act of civil disobedience. They have been charged with federal trespass and face up to six months in federal prison and a fine up to $5,000.
from the SOA Watch website:"When the rally participants tried to leave the vigil area, the police blocked off all exit points. After a few minutes, the police allowed people to leave on the sidewalk, only to follow them, indiscriminately arresting people who had neither committed any crimes nor engaged in civil disobedience. Among those arrested was the RT America TV crew, who was filming the police misconduct and bystanders. All arrestees are currently being held in the Muscogee County Jail for up to a $5,500 bond."
This video documents the arrest of one member of the press: