15,000 protest at School of Americas
January 2000

On the weekend of November 19-21, 1999, more than 40 Gaiensville residents traveled to Ft. Benning Georgia to protest the U.S. Army School of the Americas. An estimated 15,000 protestors gathered on behalf of Latin Americans who have been past victims of U.S. policy to train counter-insurgency and torture tactics to Latin American officers. The following report is from Sand Wrenn, a participant with Student Peace Action:

"The weekend was filled with solidarity, networking, music, non-violence training and tears. As they called for the presence of the souls of people, young and old, killed by SOA graduates, over 5,000 protestors 'crossed the line' onto the Army base's property, committing mass civil disobedience. Many people felt that by refusing to arrest us, the authorities were attempting to diffuse our impact. This was true even when small affinity groups like that of Student Peace Action, who decided by consensus to highten their civil disobedience, we marched outside of the disgnated area and then sat down in resistance when approached by military police. Still they did not threaten arrest. Although that noble effort was thwarted, we then marched with 2,500 other 'line crossers' who refused to 'volunteer' to get on the military buses and be driven out. We walked one mile back across the line and into a cheering singing crowd who knew as well as we, that our impact was very powerful and that our efforts as a whole may possibly shut down the SOA this year."

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