On October 1 over 200 people took part in a non-violent blockade of all the gates leading into and out of the Boeing Missile Plant in St. Charles, Missouri. After an hour, workers were allowed to leave, but as trucks presumed to carry smart bombs and the air-launched cruise missiles produced by the plant approached the gate, bodies and a banner declaring "Weapons for War Stop Here" blocked the one lane out of the plant that police attempted to keep open. At least four waves of resisters were swept away by police, leading to 36 arrests. All were released on $100 bail until their arraignment November 12.
The plant has been working 24/7 all year on guidance packages for cruise missiles and smart bombs in order to meet an October 1 delivery date. The deadline was widely reported in St. Louis and around the world as an attempt to replenish stockpiles of the weapons needed to launch an attack on Iraq.
The Chicago River flowed blood red past the Boeing's world headquarters in Chicago last summer. Three people participating in a Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) training event were charged with illegally dumping the food dye used in the action to symbolize the bloodshed resulting from Boeing's international arms sales. With their trial pending, the City of Chicago has also sued CPT, seeking fines and restitution for damages caused by the protest.
For more information in St. Louis, contact Bill Ramsey, Human Rights Action Service, 438 N. Skinker Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63130, (314)725-5303, email@example.com. In Chicago, contact CPT, POB 6508, Chicago, IL 60680, (312)455-1199, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A community-wide peace meeting was held in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on October 13, to plan public opposition to the Congressional war authorization. One result was a delegation of eight students and one community member who went to the army recruiting office on the local University of Wisconsin campus on Wednesday afternoon, October 16. They asked recruiters to close the doors for the rest of the day, in acknowledgement that in invasion of Iraq is immoral and illegal. When the recruiters refused the request, four people began a sit-in while the others joined a demonstration outside. Police arrested the four about two hours later, and all were fined for trespass.
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
Police, acting on orders from the Air Force, arrested Catholic Workers Steve Woolford and Patrick O'Neill and charged them with trespass at the main gate of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
The men were part of a group of a dozen Catholic Workers who arrived at the base on October 20 for an open-house air show featuring the F-15-E Strike Eagle war jets, used in bombing runs over Iraq for 11 years now. The group carried signs with slogans such as "When F-15s Fly Iraqi Kids Die," and two were dressed as mourning Iraqi mothers carrying limp baby rag dolls.
Even after putting down their signs, the activists were blocked at the gate from entering the show, while people attired in pro-war shirts walked right in. Woolford and O'Neill were singled out for arrest and charged with trespass. A magistrate later released them on their promise to return to court December 17.
For more information, contact Patrick O'Neill, email@example.com.
Five people were arrested at Minnesota's largest war industry, Alliant Techsystems in Edina, on October 16. Demonstrators were chalking outlines of bodies of victims of Alliant's bullets, rocket motors, and bomb fuses on two public roads near the gate. When the five began chalking the outlines further up the private entry road, they were arrested, cited for trespass and later released. For more information, contact Minnesota AlliantAction, (651)388-4814 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arrests were reported at several northern California protests. During a San Francisco peace rally on September 14, police arrested two women after an incident involving a counter-demonstrator. Those charges were eventually dismissed.
About 150 people gathered outside the downtown Oakland Federal Building on September 27, and 15 were arrested after their die-in blocked the doors. Citations were issued, and the defendants returned them indicating they would not pay a fine.
Hours after Congress approved the President's war resolution, about 300 people marched to the San Francisco Federal Building, where they established an all night vigil and peace camp. The next morning, hundreds more joined the protest, and 46 were arrested attempting to blockade business there. Two were also charged with assault. All were cited and released by 5 p.m.
After the morning blockade, some demonstrators marched to Senator Diane Feinstein's office to protest her vote for war. Police reportedly arrested and briefly held one demonstrator.
Hundreds of thousands marched on October 26 in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco against a U.S. invasion of Iraq and thousands more opponents rallied in dozens of other towns. That day Iowa activists took direct action against local fliers taking part in regular attacks on Iraq by U.S. and British warplanes patrolling the "no-fly zones."
Iowa Air Guard
Thirteen people blockaded the Air National Guard's 132nd Iowa Air Wing Base at the Des Moines Airport, cheered on by more than 100 supporters. A statement delivered to the Air Wing explained:
"We are here as concerned citizens of Iowa. The current policy of 'no fly zones' over Iraq, which you are scheduled to enforce, violates international laws as codified by the UN Security Council. We recognize that you did not create this policy. Neither did we. Rather than increasing our security, we believe this policy of aggression increases our vulnerability. If our nation continues to live by the sword, we will die by the sword. We don't want you to kill or be killed in our name. Iowans have a responsibility to resist this illegal war. That's why we are here today. We appeal to your conscience. You took an oath to uphold the constitution. Please resist these illegal and immoral orders."
The blockaders were arrested on state trespass charges and also issued a federal ban from the base before being released. A juvenile among the blockaders was returned home to his parents without charges. Some of those arrested have previously been barred from the base, but never prosecuted in federal court. Arraignment is set for November 4.
For more information, contact Brian Terrell, Catholic Peace Ministry, 4211 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312, (515)255-8114.