WASHINGTON -- Opponents of draft registration are geared to protest in 26 federal courthouses across the country if any young men are prosecuted for failure to register, a draft-resisters group said Thursday.
Members of the National Resistance Committee told a news conference the simultaneous protests are intended to re-emphasize their call to President Reagan to follow through with his campaign promise to end registration.
Since Jimmy Carter began registration in July 1980 in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, between 700,000 and 800,000 draft-age young men have failed to register. Of those, more than 100 cases have been referred to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution.
'We need to do whatever nonviolent acts we can do to make it impossible for the government to single out some of us,' said Edward Hasbrouck, an organizer from Boston.
Alex Reyes said he expects many of the demonstrations to be small, perhaps only five to 20 people. But plans are for the protesters to demonstrate -- through vigils, pickets, marches, rallies or other activities -- each time a registration resister must make an appearance in federal court anywhere.
If prosecution is initiated against any of the men, Hasbrouck predicted others who have not registered will turn themselves in, 'demanding that the government prosecute all of us or none of us.'
Protests are planned at the White House and federal court buildings in Birmingham, Ala.; Anchorage, Alaska; Little Rock, Ark.; San Francisco; Sacramento, Calif.; Los Angeles; San Diego; Chicago; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Des Moines, Iowa; Baltimore; Boston; Grand Rapids, Mich.; St. Paul, Minn.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Albany, N.Y.; Buffalo, N.Y.; New York City; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; Columbia, S.C.; Sioux Falls, S.D., and Madison, Wis.