updated 4/27/2006 1:36:40 PM ET 2006-04-27T17:36:40

Eighteen anti-war activists who call themselves the Granny Peace Brigade were acquitted Thursday of disorderly conduct charges stemming from a protest outside a Times Square military recruiting center last fall.

Judge Neil Ross said his verdict following a seven-day bench trial was not a commentary on any police action that day.

However, he said the evidence before him showed, “there was no blockage of pedestrian traffic and anyone who wanted to enter the recruiting center could do so.”

The packed courtroom erupted into applause after Ross said the prosecution “failed to prove each defendant guilty of each charge.” If convicted, each could have faced up to 15 days in prison.

Lead defense lawyer Norman Siegel said the women were “extremely pleased” with the judge’s verdict.

“They are great Americans, and they walk the shoes of great Americans who have made America the place that it is,” he said.

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