New York, NY - March 20, 2007. A total of forty-four people were arrested in the March 19th protests against war profiteering at the New York Stock Exchange. Many of those arrested are members of the War Resisters League. Also arrested were members of the Green Party, the Industrial Workers of the World, Catholic Worker, the New York Metro Alliance of Anarchists, the Granny Peace Brigade and Movement for a Democratic Society. A member of New School SDS was apparently swept by the NYPD: a number of SDS were on hand to support the action and one of these students was arrested. 11 members of a spirited Ya Basta! bloc were arrested in a related action. Most of the protesters were released late in the day on Monday, many with a court appearance on April 17, 2007. 5 arrestees who were held overnight were arraigned early the next day.
As the United States entered the fifth year of the war in Iraq, opponents of the Bush administration policies spent three days voicing their opposition across the country. On Saturday, March 17, activists braved bitter cold to march on the Pentagon. On Sunday, March 18, thousands gathered in large-scale rallies called by United for Peace and Justice and other groups in cities from cost to coast. March 19th was set aside by the March 19 Peace Actions Coalition (www.march19peaceactions.org) for smaller-scale civil disobedience actions specifically targeting war profiteers.
Steve Theberge, a member of the War Resisters League staff, was among those arrested. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We come to the Stock Exchange today to call attention to the companies that are profiteering from the war,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said soon after being released from five hours in a holding cell, Ã¢â‚¬Å“companies like Lockheed Martin, which has seen its stock price rise 116 percent since the start of the war.Ã¢â‚¬Â Theberge, who works on WRLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s counter-recruitment project, continued Ã¢â‚¬Å“as we organize against military recruiters-refusing to be the grist for the war millÃ¢â‚¬â€œ we also need to remove the profit from war.Ã¢â‚¬Â
One of the Wall Street protesters was Frida Berrigan, a policy analyst at the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute at The New School University and a member of the WRL local group and of WRLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s national executive body. Echoing the coalition statement, she added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“As we move into the fifth year of a war that is costing $8 billion a month, the only winners are companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.Ã¢â‚¬Â