FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 29, 2002
Johnson (720) 290-8199
Yuri Koslen (720) 563-0485
PEACE SIX ON TRIAL FOR FREE SPEECH
DENVERSix activists arrested in the nations first high-profile
direct action against the widening war on terrorism go to trial
on Monday, April 1st. The Wage Peace Six, dropped a
massive banner from a crane in downtown Denver on September 22,
2001. The 40 X 70 foot banner read Wage Peace Now, below
images of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and Jesus
Christall icons of nonviolent resistance to war and militarism.
Also on Monday, County Judge Armatas will hear arguments on a motion
introduced by the prosecution to quash arguments based on freedom
of speech. This attempt to throw free speech out of court comes
at a moment when the Denver Police Department is under fire for
targeting activists who exercise their First Amendment Rights.
Our intent, says Yuri Koslen, one of the defendants,
was to exercise our right to free speech and to publicize
a different point of view than the mainstream media was giving.
Walter Gerash, the venerable civil rights lawyer representing The
Wage Peace Six is employing a defense called the choice of
evils. This means that faced with a choice of war against
Afghanistan or the choice of committing minor trespassing to express
their dissentthey chose to trespass. In doing so, these activists
hoped to help turn public sentiment against the war.
Gerash says of the six young activists, They felt that climbing
the crane would be a lesser choice of evils than killing Americans
in the war. They felt the government should attempt peaceful solutions
before resorting to war.
The case of The Wage Peace Six represents the highest ideals of
our nation. Free speech must stand, especially in times of crisis,
if democracy is to prosper, and civil disobedience should be respected
as a proud tradition of leaders like King, Gandhi, and many others.
PHOTOS of the banner drop are available online at: www.wagepeacenow.org