Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"If the demonstrations continue, charges will be brought in future arrests." - T.J. Donovan Chittenden County State's Attorney

Breaking news: Boston Globe Associated Press 03/28/07 -- Prosecutor: No charges for eight arrested at Sanders' office

March 28, 2007

BURLINGTON, Vt. --No charges will be filed against eight anti-war protesters arrested after refusing to leave a district office of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

"We have far more pressing problems that we need to spend our resources on," said Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan.

The eight were removed from Sanders' office, given written trespassing warnings and released after Tuesday's protest, which centered on funding for the war in Iraq.

Donovan said the protesters' behavior played a part in the decision.

"They're trying to make a statement, I understand that. I respect what they're doing. That being said, they are in violation of the law. But we take into account that they were peaceful, they were polite and they did leave once the police asked them to leave."

The demonstration was the second in a week targeting a member of Vermont's congressional delegation. Last week, six people were arrested in a similar incident at the office of U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.

If the demonstrations continue, charges will be brought in future arrests, Donovan said.

Donavan said the same thing last week about dropping the charges after the Welch sit-in. Now he's added a threat of prosecuting Vermonters who want to end this occupation in Iraq now (and, no doubt, Mr Donavan does not to be reminded - are expressing their constitutional rights as citizens). It's called civil disobedience, and it has a long history in America and around the world. If Democratic State's Attorney Donavan respects what we are doing, why didn't he join us?

A letter from a nine-year old who was also at Sanders' office yesterday:

Dear Senator Sanders,

Stop the war. What do you not understand? What about the kids in Iraq? You are sending money to kill people and you can stop this war.

If you want the war to stop like you say, then stop it now. You have the power.

I’m nine-years old and I do not stand by my Mom and Dad. I stand on my own and I have to go against this war. I am not afraid of anyone and I am only nine. You have the same choice as me and you support the war.

I’m not afraid of going with what I believe and you are supposed to listen to Vermonters like me instead of pretending and hiding. Go do your job now.

If you like the war, go fight it. It’s not fun. At least 1,000 people are counting on you.

You have kids. How would you like your kids to die because you send money to Bush? Stop doing it.

People were arrested because they had a belief. You have the power in this world but you can arrest me as much and as long as you want but I will never change my mind because what you’re doing is wrong. This war is not right.

Earlier today:

Burlington Free Press John Curran Associated Press 03/28/07: Eight arrested in war protest at Sanders' office

Identical stories ran in the Times Argus and Boston Globe.

Our action was also reported on today's Democracy Now! --
In Burlington Vermont, police arrested eight protesters yesterday after they refused to leave the offices of independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders has been a long-time opponent of the war but supports the spending bill.

People 'round here make a big deal about Bernie being a socialist. He is anything but. In his office yesterday, I glanced around, and who was there (not with the protesters) but the Chair of the Vermont Democratic Party.

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