Supporters of Y-12 protesters react to verdict

By: Conroy Delouche Email
By: Conroy Delouche Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The three Y-12 protesters were found guilty of sabotage and vandalism for a destructive break-in last summer.

Greg Boetje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice and Michael Walli are locked up in Blount County Jail tonight.

Their sentencing has not been set, and there are questions about what they will do until that hearing.

The three now-jailed activists were very calm and even smiled as they were led out of the courtroom. Their supporters sang a hymn as the jury filed out.

Because of the sabotage charge, the three could be held without bond until sentencing. The prosecution argues they committed a violent crime damaging the property.

That obviously upset the Transform Now Plowshares movement because they've said all along this was a "non-violent" protest.

As the prosecution walked out the gate, supporters of the activists circled in front of the courthouse.

"A saying that we have in the movement is that you can jail the resistors, but you can't jail the resistance," said Chrissy Nesbitt, a supporter.

Disappointed in the verdict, but the movement will not be silenced.

The three jailed activists knew there was a chance of conviction for breaking into the Y-12 complex.

"That's part of the very extensive, emotional, spiritual preparation that went into this action," said Nesbitt.

But as they sing for a world free of violence, there is anger at how the day in court ended.

"What we're extremely disappointed about is this vindictive prosecutor. They got their verdict. Wasn't that enough for one night? But they have to slam them immediately into jail, claiming they were violent, when he had just in his rebuttal said they were non-violent," said Ellen Barfield, a supporter of the movement.

"Evidentially non-violence is still criminal in this country if you're active and vigorous about it, and our friends are spending the night in jail on account of that," said Paul Magno, another supporter of the movement.

The judge says he will spend tonight researching court cases and figure out if the activists should be held without bond.

There's a hearing tomorrow morning at 9:00 to decide whether they will be able to bond out or not.


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