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BETH ROCKWELL – GREEN POLITICAL PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE
by Tim Reim, Chair – Green Party of Erie Count Sunday, Nov. 04, 2007 at 9:41 PM
On Thursday, October 25th, 2007 Beth Rockwell and five other peace protesters from Erie County were sentenced to prison on contempt charges. The “Erie Six” were sentenced to serve five days in jail for refusing to pay fines stemming from their blocking, on March 20th, the doors to the downtown Erie Federal Courthouse. Their protest was intended to serve as a symbolic representation of citizens’ effort to shut-down our governments' illegal and immoral war on Iraq.
On Thursday, October 25th, 2007 Beth Rockwell and five other peace protesters from Erie County were sentenced to prison on contempt charges.
The "Erie Six" were sentenced to serve five days in jail for refusing to pay fines stemming from their blocking, on March 20th, the doors to the downtown Erie Federal Courthouse. Their protest was intended to serve as a symbolic representation of citizens' effort to shut-down our governments’ illegal and immoral war on Iraq.
A large crowd of local supporters gathered at 8:30 AM Thursday, first at the office of Phil English (R), Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional district representative.
There, Erie Peace Initiative (EPI) supporters placed letters of support for the "Erie Six" while reiterating their desire for an end to the Iraq War. Next, supporters traveled south on State Street to the downtown Federal Courthouse in which they delivered additional letters of both support and protest to the offices of Sen. Arlen Specter (R) and Sen. Robert Casey (D), whose offices are located in the Courthouse.
The court proceedings began at 10 AM to an overflowing courtroom, and continued until 2:30 PM. The defendants included Jim Wise, Richard Quiggle, Anne McCarthy, Bob
Johnson, Katie White, and local Green Treasurer, Beth Rockwell.
The Green Party of Erie County has been a long-time coalition partner with EPI, a local grassroots peace organization formed soon after the Sept. 11, 2001 criminal terrorist attack on New York and Washington, D.C.
Erie Peace Initiative coalition members successfully worked to organize a massive peace protest this March 19th in Erie, drawing over 1,000 protesters from around the region in an overwhelming show of support for complete and immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
Local Green activists have played a key role in this and previous EPI events, including vigils, petition drives, street protests which included symbolic folded paper cranes, and citizen mobilization drives. The Erie Peace Initiative and its associated eighteen coalition partners have sponsored Town Hall events in which its national representatives have been invited to attend. Greens and EPI members have also been supportive of the Meadville, Pennsylvania, Women In Black as a contingent in their city's last two Memorial Day parades, as well as their ongoing Saturday morning vigils against the Iraq War.
Thursday's proceedings stem from contempt charges from the original fine amounting to $500 which the "Erie Six" refused to pay. Federal statutes allow for a maximum of 30 days incarceration for contempt charges. Beth Rockwell, at age 71, was sentenced to house arrest due to her involved health issues.