November 17, 1997 in Nation/World

Nearly 600 Protesters Arrested At Army School Of Americas


Nearly 600 protesters attempting to deliver petitions calling for the closing of the Army’s School of the Americas were arrested Sunday after defying police orders and entering Fort Benning.

The demonstrators marched for two miles carrying eight cardboard coffins filled with the petitions. The school’s headquarters is just inside the post.

“We are growing in number. We are never going to stop until we close the School of the Americas,” said the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, founder of the protest group S.O.A. Watch.

Most of the 597 arrested were charged with trespassing and were released Sunday evening. Bourgeois was arrested for violating an order, stemming from an earlier protest, excluding him from the post.

The demonstration, which ended a four-day vigil marking the eighth anniversary of the slaying of six Jesuit priests and two women in El Salvador. Protesters say 19 of the 26 military officers cited in the killings had attended the School of Americas.

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