Anti-war activists stage protest at Easter Mass

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO – Six protesters interrupted Cardinal Francis George’s Easter homily on Sunday at Holy Name Cathedral, standing and yelling their opposition to the war in Iraq to a packed auditorium.

The three males and three females squirted fake blood on themselves and parishioners as they were removed from the Mass by security guards and ushers.

Police arrested the protesters and charged them with one count each of felony criminal damage to property and two counts each of misdemeanor simple battery.

“Even the pope calls for peace,” the demonstrators shouted as they were escorted out of a church auditorium where the Mass was held because the church proper is under construction.

One Mass attendee, Mike Wainscott of Chicago, yelled at the anti-war protesters.

“Are you happy with yourselves?” he said. “There were kids in there. You scared little kids with your selfish act. Are you happy now?”

Speaking afterward, George said, “We should all work for peace, but not by interrupting the worship of God.”

Police identified them as: Angela Haban, 20; Regan Maher, 25; Mercedes Phinaih, 18; Ephran Ramirez Jr., 22; Donte D. Smith, 21; and Ryane J. Ziemba, 25.

The group issued a statement after the arrests, saying the protests were staged “to reach both Holy Name’s large Easter audience – including Chicago’s most prominent Catholic citizens, who commonly attend Easter Mass at the church – and the many more viewers and readers of the local press, which usually extensively covers their services.”