More than 20 SOA protestors arrested over the weekend

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - For the 20th year in a row, activists and protestors from all over the country flocked to the Fort Benning gate for the annual School of Americas Watch.

A special called Sunday Recorder's Court started at 3 o'clock and lasted into the night, where a judge heard 22 cases of SOA protestors who were arrested over the weekend.

This year the protestors were not allowed to enter on to Fort Benning property, meaning their charges were not at the federal level like in the past. Instead the people arrested were charged with breaking city ordinances such as: demonstration without a permit, failure to disperse and blocking a roadway, just to name a few.

Sister Kathleen Desautels sat in on the hearing to show her support for those arrested. She said, "There were some people who knew what they were doing, were willing to take the arrest and will pay the consequences. That's one group. But two thirds of the people arrested in this 24 were walking down the street and police picked people if they weren't moving fast enough or if they asked a question they'd put handcuffs on them."

The judge agreed to watch several videos recorded by attendees that showed police arresting groups of people.

Desautels added, "The over-reaction, it seemed to us, to the point where they even had undercover police in groups that were discerning out of faith or of conscience."

Some of the suspects bonded out of jail while others will spend up to 60 days behind bars for their actions.

The names of those arrested are: Regina Rust, Jihan Abdel-Hafor, Khadja Abdel-Hafiz, Frances Lamb, Jamshid Bakhtiari, Annie Marie Barrett, Katy Savage, Catherina Tombs, Maria Ramirez, Chanity Ryerson, Amelia Ransey-Lefeure, Jacob Weinstein, Erik Johnson, Austin Srdjak, Tracey Odman, Cecelia Kluding, Kenneth Crowley, Curtis Thornton, Jessica Sully, Jonathan Conway, Kaelyn Eckenrode and Lissa McLeod.

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