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Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
US court clears anti-war grannies
Members of the 'Granny Peace Brigade' celebrate outside court
The group hope to motivate other senior citizens to take action
A US court has acquitted a group of 18 grandmothers of disorderly conduct for staging a rally against the Iraq war outside a military recruiting centre.

The defendants, known as the "Granny Peace Brigade", were arrested in October and charged on two counts.

The courtroom burst into cheers and applause as the judge gave his verdict.

The group's co-founder said it was "encouraging to know you can still protest legally" in the US and said more demonstrations were being planned.

Joan Wile also said she hoped the case would motivate other senior citizens who might otherwise believe they were too old to take part in demonstrations.

"I think we've shown them that it is not over and that they still have an important role to play in life," she said.

'Justified and patriotic'

The women, aged between 50 and 91, were arrested on 17 October last year after they protested outside a US military recruitment centre in Times Square, New York.

They had wanted to enlist, but found the door locked and sat down in front of the building.

Prosecutors said this prevented people from entering or leaving the centre and obstructed pedestrian traffic. They also said the women refused to disperse as ordered.

Noted civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel, who defended the women in court, said they had not broken any laws and that their protest was "respectful, orderly, justified and patriotic".

Judge Neil Ross ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against the 18-member "brigade".

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