The four SOA Watch protesters who were arrested Nov. 21 for allegedly trespassing on federal property during the group's annual protest at the gates of Fort Benning are due to appear in federal court Jan. 25.
Each defendant faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted.
The four were among the thousands who gathered on November 19-21 outside the gates of Fort Benning to demand a change in U.S.-Latin America foreign policy and the closure of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the successor to what was once the School of the Americas.
Those arrested during the protest were:
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- Nancy Gwin, a long-time activist from Syracuse, New York - Father Louie Vitale, an Air Force veteran and Franciscan Priest from Oakland, California - Michael Walli, a member of the Catholic Worker movement from Washington, DC - Ken Hayes, a representative on the SOA Watch Grassroots Council from Austin, Texas
The defendants are scheduled to begin trial in federal court in Columbus at 9 a.m. before Judge G. Mallon Faircloth. Since protests against the institute began 19 years ago, 243 people have served sentences of up to two years for nonviolent civil disobedience, according to an SOA Watch media release.