[Kosova / Kosovo] Faith groups protest the war [Peaceweb Home Page]
Friends among 26 arrested trying to deliver
peace letter to U.S. President Clinton
Friends at the White House Gates. -- photo by Terry Foss
by Max Obuszewski,
American Friends Service Committee,
with posts from Terry Foss, AFSC
--Revised June 8, 1999-- On June 3, American Friends Service Committee participated as an organization in an interfaith rally in Washington, DC, that began at the Yugoslavian embassy on California Avenue at 11 AM, then moved to LaFayette Park for speeches, and finally on to the White House. This rally was organized by the National Coalition for Peace in Yugoslavia in order to visibly demonstrate a concern for the ethnic violence perpetrated by the Yugoslavs as well as the devastation of the US/NATO bombing.
A letter was left at the embassy demanding an end to attacks on Kosovar Albanians. And a delegation was dispatched to the White House so that a letter could be delivered to President Bill Clinton condemning the bombing. However sentries would not accept the document. In response, the twenty-six member delegation, most of whom knelt, assembled in front of a White House gate and refused to move. They were arrested by the US Park Police and charged with "demonstrating without a permit." Coincidentally, while the delegation gathered in front of the gate, President Clinton was preparing to deliver a speech on Yugoslavia on the White House lawn. The Washington Post, the Washington Times and the Associated Press, among other media outlets, covered the protest.
Those arrested from AFSC were Gary Gillespie, Bette Hoover, Sam Legg, Patricia Murphy, Max Obuszewski,Lorrie Schoettler, Susan Segall, and Mike Yarrow. From FCNL, Joe Volk was arrested. From Pax Christi, Bill Carry, Mary Carry, Sister Carol Gilbert, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Sister Ardeth Platte, Jim Reale, Sister Megan Rice, and David Robinson were arrested. From Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Art Laffin, and Scott Kenji Warren, were placed under arrest. From DC Stop the War, Martin Thomas and Scott Wright were arrested. From Peace Action, Gordon Clark was arrested. From Fellowship of Reconciliation, John Dear, Richard Deats, Matthew Cuccio and Ann Scott, a Quaker from the Bay Area were arrested. They were assigned a trial date in federal court on July 21, with an option to pay, within 21 days, a $50 fine to avoid a trial. Some of those arrested, however, suggested that the $50 protest tax should not be paid and that instead the money be given to a relief fund for victims of the war in Yugoslavia.
A text of the National Coalition for Peace in Yugoslavia's statement follows, with the names of the organizations that signed the statement.
An Appeal for Peace in Yugoslavia
The following statement urging an end to the bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO countries was given to the White House by members of the National Coalition for Peace in Yugoslavia at the time of their protest and arrest on June 3, 1999.
We speak out of deepening concern and anguish over the continued bloodshed and human suffering in Yugoslavia. We call for an immediate end to NATO bombing and intensified efforts to bring a just peace in Kosovo. We condemn the atrocities and human rights abuses committed by Serbian forces in Kosovo, and we do not believe that NATO bombing will solve the problem. We are also horrified by the environmental degradation caused by the bombing, with its long-term consequences for all the people of the region. We seek a solution that ends the killing and destruction on the ground and from the air. Proposals for diplomatic settlement have been put forth by number of governments and institutions of the international community. We encourage all efforts made in good faith toward a diplomatic solution and strongly urge our nation's leaders to pursue nonviolent alternatives.
We urge an immediate cease-fire; a halt to NATO air attacks; and negotiations involving all interested parties. An end to the bombing is a prerequisite for any peace process to begin. We support the return of OSCE monitors in conjunction with the introduction of a truly international peacekeeping operation that would monitor the activities of the Serbian military force and the Kosovo Liberation Army.
---Members of the National Coalition for Peace in Yugoslavia as of 5/20/99
- American Friends Service Committee
- Church of the Brethren, Washington Office
- Episcopal Peace Fellowship
- Fellowship of Reconciliation
- Fourth Freedom Forum
- Friends Committee on National Legislation
- Fund for New Priorities in America
- Mennonite Central Committee
- National Priorities Project
- NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
- Pax Christi USA
- Peace Action
- US-Indochina Reconciliation Project
- Veterans for Peace
- War Resisters League
- Women's Action for New Directions
- Women's International League for Peace & Freedom
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Edited and Posted June 7, 1999, by C.S.
Revised June 8, 1999, by C.S.