10,000 protest at Fort Benning - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10,000 protest at Fort Benning

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November 23, 2003

Fort Benning- The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, trains Latin American military and police.

Protesters say the school trains terrorists and those who killed innocent people. They began the annual event in 1990 after 6 Jesuit priests were killed in El Salvador.

"We're here to say that we want the school closed because it represents evil, it represents war, it represents death," says Kathleen Desautels, a nun who not only protests the school, but has also spent 6 months in jail for trespassing on base property.

"When we say presente we're really saying that those people are present in our spirit and we mourn their death, but it's not enough to mourn, it's not enough to go to church and pray, we have to but our prayers into action."

"I was captured in 1983 in San Salvador, El Salvador from my classroom," says Carlos Mauricio.

"After beating me up, they blindfolded me, handcuffed me and took me away to an unknown place. When my blindfold was taken away I show up in the national police headquarters, people who have been trained here in the school of Americas."

"We will be here every year until it closes," Desautels says.

The military police at Fort Benning have cracked down on illegal trespassing by the protesters. Sunday 30 people were arrested and remain in military police custody.

Posted at 6:35 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com