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War Resisters Block IRS HQ, 31 arrested


March 19 —  Thirty-one people were arrested this morning as they staged a nonviolent blockade at the national headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, DC. The protestors had placed yellow police tape saying "WAR CRIME SCENE" across the entrance to the building.

The demonstration was part of a national day of protest marking the fifth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

More than 100 others joined the demonstration carrying signs, banners and props that illustrated the disparity between war spending and the needs of an economy crippled by five years of war.

"Just as military recruiters supply bodies for the war, the IRS supplies the funding," stated New York City War Resisters League organizer Ed Hedemann before he was arrested. "I’m doing my part to disrupt that relentless flow of money by standing in front of the IRS entrance and by refusing to send my taxes to the IRS."

More than 20 organizations are sponsored the event, including: the War Resisters League, United for Peace & Justice, National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), Movement for a Democratic Society, Ground Zero for Peace, Granny Peace Brigade, Code Pink, and the Socialist Party USA. Members of the participating organizations feel the need to engage in civil disobedience in order to dramatize their vigorous opposition to United States government’s wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and President George W. Bush’s "global war on terror."

Ruth Benn, long-time WRL activist and coordinator of NWTRCC, argues "The bloodshed has already cost the lives of thousands of Americans, Iraqis, Afghanis, and others. The country is hemorrhaging vast sums of money vitally needed to improve lives here and abroad. At the same time half the people in the U.S. feel less safe while the government has ignored calls from experts and activists for a foreign policy that rejects war."

The blockade is part of a full day of creative, nonviolent actions and civil disobedience in Washington, DC, and across the country. The protests are being coordinated by United for Peace and Justice in an effort to disrupt the business of war as usual. These actions will focus on the "pillars of war" — the military, war funding, war profiteering, the security state, and the mainstream media. Civil disobedience participants have undergone special trainings in nonviolence.

The War Resisters League is an 85-year-old secular pacifist organization, headquartered in New York City, and is affiliated with the War Resisters’ International, which is based in London. WRL believes war to be a crime against humanity, and advocates Gandhian nonviolence as the method for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation.

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Contact: Frida Berrigan, 347-683-4928

More details of this event can be found at http://www.warresisters.org/IRSinDC.htm

War Resisters League
339 Lafayette Street    New York, NY 10012
[email protected]    www.warresisters.org

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