2009/04/27:WQAD: 22 protesters arrested for trespassing at Blackwater site - Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Dan Kenney

22 protesters arrested for trespassing at Blackwater site
John David Reporter
April 27, 2009


MT. CARROLL, Illinois - A protest outside the Blackwater training site near Mt. Carroll landed 22 people a trip to the Jo Daviess County Jail on Monday. The military contractor, also called Xe, is under fire from protesters for its roles during wartime and with homeland security.

Nearly 75 protesters sounded off at the Blackwater gate Monday morning. But Dubuque's Rick Moody, an organic farmer, can only stand and watch as his wife is arresting on a trespassing charge along with 21 others.

"She's never done anything like this before," he said. "She's very scared about it and what might happen. It took a lot of courage to cross under the fence."

Yet what's courageous to some sounds just crazy to others. While Illinois state troopers make the arrests, nearby resident Owen Reeves captures the moment with his camera.

"I don't think (the protest) will accomplish much of anything," he said. "Most of the rabble-rousers aren't even from around here."

Among those taken away, some were from Minnesota and Missouri. Others came from Iowa and Illinois. None were from the Quad Cities.

The 22 protesters were processed at the scene and taken to the Jo Daviess County Jail. That's where they were each expected to post about $100 bond. If convicted, they face fines and possible jail time.

No training exercises were taking place at the site on Monday although Xe employees had reported for work.

And it's not the first time for this kind of protest. Nearly two years ago, some of these participants went to Blackwater headquarters in North Carolina and splattered red paint on themselves.

"We are here to make a foreclosure on the property of a company that's morally bankrupt," one protester announced.

Serving mock eviction papers at the gate and calling for a day to stand with peace.

Some of the 75 were really stepping out of the '60's. Others were much too young to remember those turbulent times. But all, on both sides, were delivering a message.

"Why are we paying for these things?" Moody questioned. "Why are we as a people paying for this?"

"This just brings unnecessary notoriety to our region," Reeves countered. "Who knows what might become of it later."

Both sides of the gate, so to speak, as this exercise in civil disobedience becomes an arresting experience.

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