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Protesters Call for Closing of Military School

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - Protesters calling for the closing of a controversial school for Latin American military and government officials say they're optimistic the new president or a more
sympathetic Congress will help them achieve their goal within the
next year.

Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who has been leading the
demonstrations outside a gate to Fort Benning since 1990, says his
supporters view President-elect Barack Obama as the "president who
stands for peace" and will request a meeting with him.

His group, School of Americas Watch, holds the peaceful protests each November to mark the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests,
their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador.

A United Nations panel concluded that some of the killers had attended Fort Benning's School of Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, which has added mandatory human-rights classes.

The protesters blame the school for human rights abuses in Latin
America.

Bourgeois has been threatened with excommunication by the Vatican for supporting the ordination of women as priests. But as of yesterday, he says he was still a priest.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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