April 27, 2006

Anti-war grandmothers acquitted in New York

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Granny Peace Brigade waved canes
in triumph and sang "God Help America" on Thursday after a New
York judge found 18 grandmothers innocent of disorderly conduct
for protesting the war in Iraq.

The defendants, aged 59 to 91, had been arrested in a Times
Square protest in October and each faced a $250 fine and 15
days in jail if convicted.

"I find the defendants not guilty and they are all
discharged," state court Judge Neil Ross ruled following a
six-day trial, concluding the women did not block pedestrian
traffic at a U.S. military recruiting station.

Thunderous applause broke out after the verdict.

"Listen to your granny. She knows best," said Joan Wile,
74, one of the organizers of the group referred to as the
Granny Peace Brigade and Grandmothers Against the War.

"Eighteen grandmothers did the right thing," said Marie
Runyon, 91, as she left the courtroom.

Shouting "We will not be silent," about 100 grandmothers
rallied outside the courthouse and sang "God Help America" to
the tune of "God Bless America."