Washington, DC – Four people were arrested this morning on the west steps of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC in an act of non-violent direct action against the possible war in Iraq. Calling on Congress to re-open the debate and vote against war, the four were arrested after being denied entry into the Capitol Building.
Nancy Lessin, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out, a national organization of individuals and families with relatives or loved ones in the military, Kelly Campbell, who helped found September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows after losing a relative in the Pentagon Building, Bob Wing of United for Peace and Justice, and Molly McGrath of the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition flashed peace signs to supporters as they were taken away by police.
The four were among a number of speakers at a press conference today announcing the kick off a massive campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in Washington DC and across the nation, calling for peace and protesting war in Iraq. The”Emergency Campaign to Reclaim Democracy and Stop the War Now” was initiated by United for Peace and Justice and the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, both coalitions comprised of hundreds of organizations.
These groups, along with the Iraq Pledge of Resistance have put out a call for peaceful direct actions starting immediately, in hopes of stopping the war BEFORE it starts. Non-violent direct actions are set to begin Monday March 17th and continue throughout the week in DC. Actions are also planned for the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco tomorrow, and will take place at Congressional offices and other locations throughout the country in the coming days.
All of those arrested today see non-violent direct action as their civic duty, and as a last resort in the efforts to prevent war and encourage Congressional leaders to carry out the will of their constituents.
Now is the time to take action, we believe we CAN still stop the war, and we ask people of conscious to come to Washington DC to join us in non-violent civil disobedience on March 17th. “Don’t wait until the bombs start falling to do everything you can for peace,” said Nancy Lessin, founder of Military Families Speak Out, who carried a body bag to the Capitol action as a reminder of what war would mean for many families in her group.
Kelly Campbell of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows commented, “We believe a majority of the American people, along with a huge majority of the world’s people, continue to oppose U.S.-led military action in Iraq. Yet Congress refuses to be held accountable. If our representatives in Washington won’t uphold the Constitution and represent the people, we will.”