Monday, May 15th, 2006

Bay Area Celebrates the Right to Resist War!
Students, Artists and Seniors to Shut Down Military Recruiting Station

On Monday, May 15th at 5:30 pm, a coalition of high school students, senior citizens, musicians, artists, and community members will shut  down an Oakland military recruiting station in honor of International Conscientious Objector Day and will set up a “Peace and Justice Movement Recruiting Station” in it’s place.

The crowd will gather at 4 pm at Oakland City Center (12th Street and Broadway) for a rally featuring spoken word, music and theater. At 5 pm, participants will begin marching up Broadway, led by samba drummers and giant puppets created by local seniors. At 5:30 pm, protestors will non-violently shut down the Military Recruiting Station at Broadway and 21st Street and creatively transform the street outside.

In a show of support for US GI’s who have gone AWOL to Canada instead of to war in
Iraq, a delegation of Bay Area community leaders – religious, veterans, peace and justice and military families – will meet with and present a letter to the Canadian Consulate in San Francisco on Monday at noon requesting that the Canadian government provide
sanctuary to U.S. war resisters.   “It is a soldier’s responsibility under international law to refuse to fight in illegal wars and to refuse to participate in war crimes,” says Gerry Condon, a Vietnam-era veteran who works with U.S. war resisters in Canada.  Canada has a tradition of being a safe haven for war objectors.  We believe the Canadian people wish to continue that tradition.”

“There are many ways to object to war,” said Wendy Carson, an organizer with the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors.  “We’re here to honor and support GIs who refuse to fight and torture, high school kids who see through recruiters’ lies, Bay Area residents who march against the war, and anyone else who resists war and empire.”

Coordinated International Conscientious Objector Day events will be held in New York City, Washington DC, and Pittsburg around May 15th. The day has been celebrated throughout the world for over 20 years; this year the international focus is on the United States’ denial of soldiers’ right to object.

“Conscientious objectors and GI resisters are facing down the whole military machine to stand up for human rights and international law. Our support can help protect these brave individuals from repression and feelings of isolation,” said Lori Hurlebaus, an organizer with Courage to Resist.  “We don’t have to wait for politicians to get us out of the mess they’ve created in Iraq – by supporting resisters in the military and cutting off the supply of new recruits, we can end the war ourselves.”