Local tax resister, former prisoner of conscience, and long-time Latin America solidarity activist Peg Morton was arrested at a direct action on Monday afternoon, April 16, in front of the congressional offices in Washington, D.C.
Morton, along with hundreds of other activists from across the hemisphere, participated in Monday’s “Rally, March and Nonviolent Direct Action to Shut Down the School of the Americas and End U.S. Militarization.” It was the culmination of five days of lobbying, meetings and trainings, organized by School of the Americas Watch, the national organization dedicated to the closure and investigation of the SOA. This U.S. military training facility, renamed WHINSEC by the Pentagon some years ago, is responsible for “educating” hundreds of Latin American military officers who were later implicated in human rights cases in their own countries.
Morton was held for almost six hours in a cramped holding cell before being allowed to pay a $100 fine and be released, according to a statement from Scott Miksch of the local Latin American Solidarity Committee (LASC). He said Morton is adamant about the need for more direct action against the SOA. “Here we are in the hub of a giant empire,” she is quoted saying. “People are suffering and dying because of our nation’s policies. We need to show these people that some of us do care, and want to make a difference.”
Miksch said “Peg went to D.C. to represent LASC at SOA Watch’s national conference. But in a way, she’s also representing all of us who are tired with business as usual, tired of the same old policies of militarization and U.S. support for human rights violators. Leave it to Peg to speak truth to power in a very direct fashion!”
SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois was arrested along with Morton and nine others who engaged in the nonviolent direct action on Capitol Hill. “U.S. militarization in the Americas has increased during the Obama administration, said Bourgeois, “as evidenced by the military coup and the ongoing violence in Honduras, the ever-expanding ‘War on Drugs,’ the continuing murders of unionists in Colombia and the construction of new U.S. military bases throughout the hemisphere.”
Photos and videos of the demonstration can be found at http://wkly.ws/19a