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Co-founder of MFSO Arrested at Capitol Building

Co-founder of Military Families Speak Out Arrested at Capitol Building
Thursday, March 13, 2003
Washington, DC~

Nancy Lessin, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out and three other peace activists were arrested at the Capitol Building Thursday during the kick off of a massive non-violent civil disobedience campaign. Ms. Lessin is the mother of a marine on active Persian Gulf Duty. She also is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against President Bush that seeks to prevent the President from invading Iraq without a formal declaration of war by Congress, as is required by Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. Twelve Congressmen, soldiers and families of other military personnel, including Ms. Lessin's husband - Charlie Richardson -- join Ms. Lessin as plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

"Now is the time to take action, we believe we CAN still stop the war, and we ask people of conscience to come to Washington DC to join us in non-violent civil disobedience on March 17th. Don't wait until the bombs start falling to do everything you can for peace," cried Ms. Lessin, as she held up a body bag as a reminder of what war would mean for many families in her group.

Kelly Campbell, who helped found September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows after losing a relative in the Pentagon Building, Bob Wing of United for Peace and Justice and Molly McGrath of the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition were arrested with Ms. Lessin. They flashed peace signs to supporters as they were taken away by police.

The four were among a number of speakers at a press conference today announcing the kick off a massive campaign of non-violent civil disobedience in Washington DC and across the nation, calling for peace and protesting war in Iraq. The 'Emergency Campaign to Reclaim Democracy and Stop the War Now' was initiated by United for Peace and Justice and the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, both coalitions comprised of hundreds of organizations.

These groups, along with the Iraq Pledge of Resistance have put out a call for peaceful direct actions starting immediately, in hopes of stopping the war BEFORE it starts. Non-violent direct actions are set to begin Monday March 17th and continue throughout the week in DC. Actions are also planned for the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco tomorrow, and will take place at Congressional offices and other locations throughout the country in the coming days.

All of those arrested Thursday see non-violent direct action as their civic duty as a last resort in their efforts to prevent war and encourage Congressional leaders to carry out the will of their constituents.

Kelly Campbell of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows stated, "A majority of the American people and a huge majority of the world's people continue to oppose a unilateral U.S. war on Iraq, yet Congress refuses to do its duty. If the members of Congress won't uphold the Constitution and represent their constituents, we will."

ENDS

Laurie Manis, plaintiff
Military Families Speak Out
Rock Island, IL

1-309-788-4343 (H)
1-309-793-6800 (W)

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