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Archive for Monday, November 20, 2006

Annual protest targets military training school

November 20, 2006

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— Protesters continued their 17-year-long effort to close a military school they blame for human rights abuses in Latin America by parading, chanting and raising white crosses Sunday outside the Army's Fort Benning near Columbus.

Sixteen demonstrators, including two grandmothers, got around, under or over three chain-link fences - one topped by coils of barbed wire - and were arrested for trespassing on military property. Each could face up to six months in a federal prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

The Army's School of the Americas moved to Fort Benning from Panama in 1984 and was replaced in 2001 by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, under the Defense Department.

The school trains Latin American soldiers, police and government officials.

The demonstrations are timed to commemorate six Jesuit priests who were killed along with their housekeeper and her daughter on Nov. 19, 1989, in El Salvador. Some of the killers had attended the School of the Americas.

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