November 13, 2002: Headlines: COS - Afghanistan: Peace Builders: War with Iraq: Creative Loafing Atlanta: Afghanistan RPCV Courtney Siceloff arrested at Senator Zell Miller's office for staging a sit-in protest

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Afghanistan: Peace Corps Afghanistan: The Peace Corps In Afghanistan: November 13, 2002: Headlines: COS - Afghanistan: Peace Builders: War with Iraq: Creative Loafing Atlanta: Afghanistan RPCV Courtney Siceloff arrested at Senator Zell Miller's office for staging a sit-in protest

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Afghanistan RPCV Courtney Siceloff arrested at Senator Zell Miller's office for staging a sit-in protest

Afghanistan RPCV Courtney Siceloff arrested at Senator Zell Miller's office for staging a sit-in protest

The founding of the Atlanta Five
War protesters arrested after sit-in at Miller's office


The spirit of the '60s, it seems, is alive and well. On Nov. 5, five war protesters were quietly hauled off to the slammer for staging a sit-in protest at U.S. Sen. Zell Miller's offices in Colony Square.

The protesters, who immediately dubbed themselves the Atlanta Five, had phoned, e-mailed and written Miller's offices several times over the past two months. They were looking for a face-to-face with the senator so they could ask him 20 questions about the resolution -- backed by Miller -- that authorizes President Bush to use military action against Iraq.

Some of the questions they sent were tame; others were not. Among the more provocative questions posed by activists Joe Parko, Carol Bass and Beth Lavoie:

"Won't such a war increase the probability of terrorist attacks on the U.S.?"

"What are the long-term consequences of a U.S. 'go-it alone' approach?"

"How many would be killed or maimed in such a war?"

All are questions yet to be addressed by the mainstream media, much less Democrats in Congress. And they're certainly not questions that Miller, an ardent backer of Bush's foreign policy, wants to field from a bunch of peaceniks -- even if those questions are perplexing many Americans. In a letter, Miller declined the protesters' request to meet.

Last Tuesday, the three letter writers, joined by Randy Aronov and 80-year-old Quaker activist Courtney Siceloff, headed to Miller's Colony Square office. They informed the senator's staff that they wouldn't leave until Miller scheduled a face-to-face meeting with them. Miller's staff told the protesters he wasn't in the office that day, and that they had no way of getting in touch with him to schedule a meeting.

Sensing a blow-off, the protesters didn't budge. They stayed in the office until that evening, when Miller's staff tried to close down the office. Security guards and Atlanta police officers carted them off to jail.

"We tried for months to get Zell Miller to listen to our concerns about war on Iraq. His response was, 'I have no desire to listen to people who disagree with me,'" Parko told the Atlanta Municipal Court at his arraignment. "Zell Miller is acting more like our ruler than our representative. This is supposed to be a government of, by and for the people, and we intend to see that it stays that way."

Miller's office responded to Creative Loafing inquiries by forwarding us his statement to the protesters. In a Nov. 4 letter to Parko, Miller wrote, "I don't think there is anything further to be gained by another meeting. Your position on this issue is clear, and I have heard it. My position on this issue is equally as clear and firm."

Meanwhile, all five protesters were charged with criminal trespass and face a trial in about six months -- about the time the country could be knee-deep in a war with Iraq, or ramping up still, or cleaning up.

Last Saturday, the protesters -- now calling themselves the Atlanta Five -- were cheered by 2,500 anti-war demonstrators at a march from the Martin Luther King Center to a rally at Centennial Olympic Park.

Few could resist comparing the day's events to the anti-Vietnam protests of the late 1960s and 1970s. Among the speakers were legendary civil rights activists Rep. John Lewis and Joseph Lowery, who co-founded with King the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

When Parko hit the stage, he told the crowd about Miller's refusal to meet with them, the sit-in and the arrest. But he was adamant:

"We will have peace. We want to ask you this question: Are you willing to do everything you can to stop this war? Only we the people can stop this war."

When this story was prepared, here was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

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Story Source: Creative Loafing Atlanta

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Afghanistan; Peace Builders; War with Iraq



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