NEW YORK – The New York chapter of the War Resisters League kicked off a week of actions against military recruitment in New York by shutting down the Times Square Recruiting Station Saturday morning. Three members of the WRL were arrested, but the recruiting station remained closed for the rest of the day as the WRL maintained its presence there, joined in the afternoon by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra.
The three arrestees were charged with disorderly conduct and released four hours later.
The NYC War Resisters League called the week of anti-recruiting actions “to demand an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to cease destroying the lives of young people who are sent to war, and to rechannel the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the military into programs here and abroad that seek to improve lives of all people.”
Each day for the next week, a different group or groups will take responsibility for actions aimed at keeping the recruiting station in Times Square closed, beginning at 9am:
Sept. 10 (Mon.) : NYC Catholic Worker/Kairos Community
Sept. 11 (Tues.) : NYC War Resisters League
Sept. 12 (Wed.) : Witness Against Torture
Sept. 13 (Thurs.) : CodePink/Granny Peace Brigade
Sept. 14 (Fri.) : Movement for a Democratic Society-NYC/World Can’t Wait
Sept. 15 (Sat.) : Green Party of Brooklyn/Park Slope Greens
The War Resisters League is an 84-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.
Here’s a first-hand account of the protest, with pictures and videos:
At 8:30 am we egan blocking the front door of the yet-to-be-opened recruiting center. Shortly after, two counter-demonstrators (“Protest Warriors”) came with large banner and American flags. [Several hours later a “Gathering of Eagles” woman joined them and screamed most of the time.]
At 8:45 am, two recruiters appeared and tried to enter the building but were rebuffed by the demonstrators. The recruiters called the police who showed up a few minutes later. They warned that those blocking the door would be arrested AND that we’d all have to leave the “military island.” The police then brought in metal barricades to surround the island as well as setting them up across Broadway and across Seventh Ave.
The stand off lasted for an hour and a quarter before the three demonstrators were arrested (at 10 am) but the police allowed the rest of us to stay on the island as long as we allowed pedestrian traffic along the island. Immediately after the arrest, two recruiters entered the building.