Woman arrested in protest at Ga. base

Columbia resident, 65, released on $1,000 bail

November 27, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A Columbia resident was arrested Sunday while protesting U.S. foreign policy at Fort Benning in Georgia.

Betsy Lamb, 65, said she was held overnight after her arrest and released after paying $1,000 bail.

Her sentencing date is Jan. 26.

She attended the protest with six other members of Howard County Friends of Latin America.

The annual protest is held near the anniversary of the assassination of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989.

Protesters believe that Fort Benning's Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, trained the people who killed the priests.

A spokesman for the institute disputed that assertion.

"Their whole accusation is that graduates of the School of the Americas committed certain acts without making any connection to what [class] they took, when they took it and what it has to do with their later behavior," said public affairs officer Lee A. Rials.

This is the fourth time that Lamb, a parish renewal consultant, has been arrested at Fort Benning.

Because she was banned from the base permanently after her third arrest, she could receive up to six months in jail for crossing Fort Benning's boundary.

She said she would protest again because she disagrees with U.S. foreign policy in developing nations.

"I'm a person of faith, and I believe we have an obligation to love one another and support one another," she said.

Lamb said she believes that the protests affect decisions to keep the school open.

"Every time it's come up for a vote, the difference between the yeas and the nays has gotten smaller," she said.

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