US church leader arrested at White House in Iraq war protest

The Rev. John Thomas, president of the US United Church of Christ, has been arrested in a protest about the Iraq war outside the White House.

US church leader arrested at White House in Iraq war protest

The Rev. John Thomas, president of the US United Church of Christ, has been arrested in a protest about the Iraq war outside the White House.

Thomas and another denominational official, the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, had been trying to deliver to the White House on 10 October what they called a "pastoral letter" that contained 60 000 signatures calling for an end to the military action in Iraq.

The two officials were arrested after they refused to leave a no-protest zone near the gates of the US presidential residence, the UCC news service reported.

Thomas and Jaramillo had earlier sought a meeting with the White House's public liaison office, in order to hand-deliver the petitions, but their requests were refused. Instead, the two officials held up thick stacks of the petitions in the no-protest zone, and failed to comply with a police request to step back from the White House fence.

Thomas and Jaramillo were handcuffed and led to a police van. They were released after being held briefly at a police station and paying a US$100 fine.

The letter the two officials were attempting to deliver urged, "an end to our reliance on violence as the first, rather than the last resort, [and] an end to the arrogant unilateralism of pre-emptive war."

Thomas told a small group of protesters before the arrests that the symbolic act was a "very meaningful witness of the whole church". The 1.2-million-member UCC is known for its opposition to the Iraq war.

Christian Today, ENI

Last Mod: 17 Ekim 2007, 00:01
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