DC civil disobedience over Darfur, Medicare

posted by Mike on April 27th, 2009

The Boston Globe reports that Worcester’s Rep. Jim McGovern and others were arrested at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC, this morning for a Darfur protest. Both McGovern and his constituents have committed civil disobedience on the issue in recent years. (via WoMag)

Down at the White House, what seemed to be more than 100 disability activists risked arrest by handcuffing themselves to the fence while agitating for the Community Choice Act.

Update: 91 arrested.

DCist reports some Greenpeace activists were also arrested today.

New Englanders march for an end to Darfur genocide

posted by Mike on May 21st, 2008

img_0033Ten New Englanders travelled to Washington, DC for a march yesterday against China’s support for the government of Sudan’s genocidal practices in the Darfur region.

The group included one person who had been to Darfur and four who had been arrested for protesting the violence in Darfur with nonviolent civil disobedience.

The day before this march, Human Rights Watch issued a press release saying, “Darfur: ‘Scorched Earth’ Tactics Warrant UN Sanctions.”

The march began at the Chinese Embassy’s “Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office,” which seemed to be in some sort of mall/office complex. We handed out a few fliers and had many honks of support from cars driving by.

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A letter to the ambassador and staff of the Chinese Embassy

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on May 15th, 2008

This letter was faxed to the embassy today, in anticipation of a protest next week.

Dear Sirs and Madams,

As a peace activist who has witnessed the tragedy of avoidable loss of life in war zones, I offer you and your people my heartfelt condolence for the suffering caused by the recent earthquake in your country. As a parent, I am especially sympathetic to all those Chinese parents whose children were injured or killed.

It is my desire to spare other parents this same agony that inspires me to write to you today. In December 2004, as a member of a Catholic Worker Peace Team, I visited Darfur, Sudan where I witnessed enormous harm inflicted on hundreds of thousands of civilians by the Sudanese army and its militias. We delivered food to many in pitiful camps for internally displaced people, but realized that only an end to the Sudanese government’s genocidal campaign against its African citizens could truly restore those victims to health and safety. When we asked Sudanese human rights activists what was the most effective nonviolent action we could take to end genocide in Darfur, we were told to protest at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC. We have done this several times since then, but have become increasingly aware that diplomatic efforts to end the genocide have been frustrated by the continued economic, military, and political support being given to the Sudanese government by the government of China.
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May 20: Tell China to Stop Supporting Genocide in Darfur

posted by Scott Schaeffer-Duffy on April 30th, 2008

Dave MaciewskiJoin a nonviolent march, in Washington, DC, from the Chinese to the Sudanese Embassy on Tuesday, May 20th from 9 AM – noon. Despite international criticism, China remains the largest economic and military supporter of the government of Sudan which is widely held as responsible for the deaths or displacement of over a million civilians in Darfur. Because of China’s purchases of Sudanese oil and through China’s sales of arms to the Sudanese government, international efforts to end the bloodshed in Darfur and establish security for its people have largely failed. So long as the Sudanese regime is propped up by China, the killing in Darfur will continue.

Please gather with us at midday at the Chinese Embassy, 2201 Wisconsin Ave., NW, to hold signs which say, “China’s Support for Sudan is an Olympic Mistake” and “STOP THE GENOCIDE IN DARFUR NOW.” Some of these signs have enlarged photos of victims in Darfur. We will have a limited number of t-shirts available with the same message for those who wish to join the rally and 1.3 mile march to the Sudanese Embassy at 2210 Massachusetts Ave. NW.

Please contact us now for details and for information about rides from Massachusetts (leaving at noon on May 19th), as well as about lodging in Washington, DC for the night of the 19th. With the Olympics less than 100 days away, the media and Chinese government are paying greater attention to the Darfur issue. For the sake of those Darfurians whose lives are still risk, please consider spending a half a day in the nation’s capital. RSVP ASAP!

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy
Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker
52 Mason Street, Worcester, MA 01610
508 753-3588

508 #11: Community

posted by Mike on November 30th, 2007

508 is a show about Worcester. This week, Brendan Melican talks about privatization and municipal employees; Mike Benedetti flips through the InCity Times and complains about the Green-Rainbow Party; Dante Comparetto talks about Worcester Local First (here’s a WCCA interview with two of the businessmen organizing it); and Nick Reville talks about Miro.

You can download the mp3, subscribe to the feed, or see other formats.


Appeals Court upholds “Darfur” conviction unanimously

posted by Mike on November 14th, 2007

Got word today that the Appeals Court in DC voted unanimously to uphold the conviction of seven activists for civil disobedience at the Sudanese Embassy in 2005.

The defendants plan to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Update: Scott Schaeffer-Duffy adds, “This is what the court ruled:”

District of Columbia Court of Appeals senior judges Newman, Belson, and Warren King: Appellants appeal their convictions of incommoding for blocking the entrance to the Sudanese embassy in protest of that country’s policies in Darfur. They claim that the trial court erred in rejecting their defenses of necessity and justification under international law. We affirm.

Substantially for the reasons stated by the trail judge in his Findings of the Court, we are satisfied that the government presented sufficient evidence to establish a violation of DC criminal code 22-1307 and that the court properly rejected the defenses put forth. United States v. Maxwell, Emry v. United States, Reale v. United States, Shiel v. United States, Griffin v. United States, Morgan v. District of Columbia. [cititions omitted]. Accordingly, the judgments of conviction are affirmed.

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Update on “Darfur trial”

posted by Mike on November 8th, 2007

On November 6, 2007, three of the seven defendants convicted for civil disobedience in 2005 against the Darfur genocide went to Washington, DC, for oral arguments in an appeal of their case.

Yesterday, I talked to two of them, Ken Hannaford-Ricardi and Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, about how it went. The men are members of the Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker community in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Click here to listen to the conversation (mp3)

You can also see more formats or subscribe to the Pie and Coffee podcast feed.

Ken Hannaford-Ricardi and Scott Schaeffer-Duffy
Ken Hannaford-Ricardi and Scott Schaeffer-Duffy


“Darfur trial” appeal to be argued Nov 6

posted by Mike on October 31st, 2007

The DC Court of Appeals has granted the motion of the Sudan Seven for the right to an oral argument of their appeal on Tuesday, November 6, at 10 a.m. The court is small, but spectators are welcome. For more information call Scott Schaeffer-Duffy at 508 753-3588.

City Council asks Worcester to divest from Sudan

posted by Mike on October 10th, 2007

00014At last night’s City Council meeting, the Council unanimously voted to “divest the retirement system of any investment in the Sudan.”

I made a crummy recording of the discussion, which you can hear below. Because of battery trouble, it cuts off in the middle of Councilor Michael “Dah-foo” Perotto’s introduction, and cuts back in as Councilor Joff Smith is speaking. After the council voted, Joe O’Brien, Darfur native Abu Asal Abu Asal, and Mike Benedetti said a few words of additional support.

Note also that Mayor Lukes mentioned the Armenian Genocide in her remarks, and asked that language explicitly using the word “genocide” be added. (The US Congress is currently considering labelling the Armenian Genocide a “genocide,” with Turkey strongly objecting. AP: Bush urges defeat of genocide bill.)

Documents from this vote


See more audio formats.

Worcester City Council to consider Darfur divesment

posted by Mike on October 7th, 2007

Four-and-a-half years after the Sudanese goverment began using Janjaweed in counterinsurgency activities in Darfur, three years after the Bush administration declared that genocide was happening there, two-and-a-half years after Worcester residents were arrested protesting the genocide at the Sudanese embassy, and one-and-a-half years after Worcester’s Congressman was arrested for doing the same thing, the Worcester City Council may consider divesting the city’s retirement fund from Sudan.

10j. Request City Auditor and the Worcester Retirement System to divest the retirement system of any investment in the Sudan. (Perotto, Smith, Palmieri, Rushton)

It’s disappointing that it took election games to motivate this move, and though the paper estimates this will move at most a fraction of a million dollars of investment, I hope the Council votes to pass this. I don’t think it’s too little, and I don’t think it’s too late.

I also hope this helps set a precedent, and that the Council will be willing to consider international affairs that impact the city in the future. I know local activists could come up with a long list of regimes and companies that a responsibly-invested pension fund shouldn’t be involved in.

Update: City Council asks Worcester to divest from Sudan