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Nuns' inspiration leads to mass protest at silo

Hundreds of self-proclaimed citizen weapons inspectors fanned out across the cow pastures of Colorado and Nebraska at the weekend to carry on the work of pacifist nuns sentenced to prison for an anti-war protest.

Religious and political activists chose one of 49 Colorado missile sites to pray, sing, dance, beat drums and hang an eviction notice. Protesters also went to three sites in southwestern Nebraska.

Three nuns, Carol Gilbert, Jackie Hudson and Ardeth Platte, were given prison terms ranging from 30 months to 41 months on Friday. Prosecutors said they hoped the sentences would deter others from similar protests.

Hudson, 68, Gilbert, 55, and Platte, 66, were convicted in April of obstructing the national defence and damaging government property last fall after cutting a fence and walking onto a Minuteman III silo site, swinging hammers and using their blood to paint a cross on the structure.

Bill Sulzman, one of the organisers of Saturday's action, said the presence of hundreds of protesters showed the peace movement remained alive. However, the protesters did not attempt to break through the 2 metre fence surrounding the city block-sized site.

"The three sisters stirred up a lot more interest," Sulzman said. "We've put the silos on the map as never before."

Roseann McCullough, of Denver, said the nuns inspired her to go to a missile site for the first time. She and 11 others from a Catholic church group in Denver drove to the Minuteman III site referred to as M11 in the Pawnee National Grasslands, about 140 miles from of Denver.


Sentencing Statement - Sister Carol Gilbert, OP (Rocky Mountain News)
Nuns Sentenced To 2-4 Years In Federal Prison (

29 Jul 2003