Granny activists get their day in court

A New York lawyer asks that charges be dropped against octogenarians arrested during an anti-Iraq protest.

Published January 11, 2006 1:58PM (EST)

On Oct. 17 a group of elderly women calling themselves the "Granny Peace Brigade" was arrested outside New York's Times Square military recruitment station while protesting the war in Iraq. Yesterday, when the 17 women finally came before a judge, their attorney, Norman Siegel, requested that the court dismiss all charges against them.

"The defendants engaged in a peaceful, nonviolent demonstration in full cooperation and with the full knowledge of the police," Siegel reportedly argued. "They sat down on the ground to publicly express their opposition to the war in Iraq. There is no claim of resisting arrest, acting in a disrespectful manner or doing anything that placed NYPD personnel, the public or themselves in any danger whatsoever."

"The war in Iraq is breaking my heart," defendant Eva-Lee Baird, a retired Manhattan art teacher, told the Associated Press. "I'm willing to inconvenience myself a little bit to express that."

Granny supporters packed the Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday and applauded the women, some of whom needed to use canes and walkers to come before the judge.

The court's decision is expected March 2.

By Sarah Karnasiewicz

Sarah Karnasiewicz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Until recently, she was senior editor at Saveur magazine; prior to that she was deputy Life editor at Salon. She has contributed to the New York Times, the New York Observer and Rolling Stone, among other publications. For more of her work, visit and Signs and Wonders.

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