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Republican National Convention Aftermath / Nun among 8 on trial for war protest

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annm4peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:02 PM
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Republican National Convention Aftermath / Nun among 8 on trial for war protest
Source: St Paul's Pioneer Press

While protesting the Iraq war the day before the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Sister Elizabeth A. McKenzie left a designated protest route, passed through a security fence and was arrested, her attorney said Tuesday. The 79-year-old nun is on trial this week, along with seven others, for trespassing.

McKenzie, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul, said her conscience compelled her on Aug. 31, 2008, to pass through a security fence to deliver her message against the war to convention delegates a message that could not be heard on the designated protest route, her attorney, Theodore Waldeck, said during the trial's opening statements in Ramsey County District Court.

"Ms. McKenzie will tell you that she had a right to be on that property that day," Waldeck said. "It was her conscience ... that informed her beliefs about the immorality of the Iraq war."

The defendants' motives don't make their actions legal, assistant city prosecutor Steven Christie said. The defendants breached a security fence near the Landmark Center at Washington and Sixth streets in St. Paul, he said. They went over, around and under the fence to get closer to the Xcel Energy Center.

"It wasn't their property," Christie told the six-member jury. "They had no right to enter that secure area. You'll decide that their actions were intentional. A person's motives are different than legal intent."

A ninth person, Duncan Hardee, 20, of Raleigh, N.C., was arrested during the incident but never charged. The St. Paul city attorney's office could not say why Hardee was not charged.

.. snip ..

McKenzie has been a nun for nearly 60 years, Waldeck said. She was sentenced in 2001 to six months in jail for trespassing at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga., while seeking closure of the Army school, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas.

Most of those arrested during the Aug. 31 march in St. Paul were members of the group Veterans for Peace, which organized the march from the state Capitol to the Xcel Energy Center to protest the Iraq war.
.. snip ...

If convicted of a trespassing misdemeanor, the defendants could face up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

Read more:

(the online article shamefully shows a violent picture that has nothing to do with the article of those arrested who are all committed to non-violence. The picture was taken several days after these peace activists were arrested 1 day before RNC started)

Eight peace activists who engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Republican National Convention to protest the both the war in Iraq and U.S. prisoner torture policies, face trial beginning Monday morning, September 14, at 9 AM in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul. The eight include full-time peace and social justice activists, homemakers, veterans, a nun, a retired general surgeon, and a college professor. They are Joshua Brollier, Steve Clemens, David Harris, Jeanne Hynes, Betty McKenzie, Dan Pearson, Mary Vaughan, and Joel Weisberg. The activists call themselves "the other RNC 8" to distinguish themselves from another group of 8 facing more serious charges in connection with protests at the convention. The 8 plan to cite International Treaties and the Nuremberg Tribunals in their defense. Although it took place near the site of the Republican Convention, the action was aimed at protesting the policies of both major political parties.

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jimshoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Probably a good thing she didn't
bring her gun with her that day.
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Bjorn Against Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 07:36 PM
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2. So they don't arrest the people inside the XCel Center who authorized torture...
Instead they arrest the nun who wanted to deliver them a letter. I feel so much safer knowing that even if the torturers do walk free at least I won't have to worry about anyone facing the threat of a nun with a letter.
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annm4peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. is this how Newspapers continue to spin the story
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 08:21 PM by annm4peace

the picture used by St Paul's Pioneer Press that is several days after the arrest.

the picture during the arrest Aug 31st, 2008


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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:54 PM
Response to Original message
4. Bet there are a lot of Catholics who read the article just to find out if that nun...
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 08:58 PM by DCKit
was the evil penguin who taught/terrified their fourth grade English class, hoping for some retribution.

In all seriousness, I think 99.99% of the folks on DU believe these arrests were Unconstitutional and illegal from the get-go. The DOJ should be investigating this persecution. Additionally, given the current (and all too relaxed) climate regarding protest, this case should have been dropped like a hot lava rock. It's lose/lose for the authoritarians, and they could have saved some embarrassment by doing the right thing in a timely manner. So much for not cutting off your nose to spite your ugly mug.

If all else fails, the President (citing the above) should be ready to pardon one and all, if convicted of these non-crimes.

It's time to put the fascism back in the closet.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
5. These folks are really having to face charges? So much needs to be changed!
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