Sunday, March 20, 2011

Arrested at the White House Fence

Women's a capella group Songrise performs at CODEPINK 's Women Say No to War Rally
Yesterday's Washington DC actions came on the occasion of 8 years of shock and awe in Iraq, but the dual focus of the day's events were the costs of militarism and support for Private Bradley Manning. Codepink (more photos here) held the first rally of the day in Lafayette Park with this terrific a capella group Songrise. These young women made everyone's spirits rise! We also heard from women working on housing, human rights, and the healing of our distressed planet.

Vets for Peace organized the next rally and we heard from Daniel Ellsberg, the Bradley Manning of his generation. Also Codepink co-founder Medea Benjamin, who had the crowd of about 1,500 shouting "Bring our War Dollars Home" in a call and response where BOW$H was the answer to a host of problems on the home front. We were proud to carry the Maine banner in the march afterwards, and to see the hundreds of pink BOW$H stickers made for the occasion.

Next order of the day: risk arrest at the White House. About 130 people remained inside the security barrier erected by SWAT team (?!) while hundreds more remained in Lafayette Park cheering us on. Mark and I met at a candlelight vigil protesting the impending attack on Iraq 8 years ago, and we celebrated this anniversary by getting arrested together. Here I am with the Pink goddess of activist hospitality, Joan Stallard, holding the banner we left impaled on the White House fence when they took us away.

Someone in the crowd claimed they saw Obama looking out the window of his home. But of course that was silly; the president was actually in Brazil at the time (see Axis of Logic article here: Obama trip aimed at salvaging US interests in Latin America). Somebody else said, "Maybe it was Michelle." This reminded me how I often wonder what the Obama daughters think about their government's foreign policies of bombing civilians around the globe while they attend the Friends school and learn about the force more powerful.

In the evening we were at a meeting on the cost of militarism that is organizing toward April 12 as Global Day of Action Against Militarism. Then we came home and had the best soup ever while planning for tomorrow. Whether or not to risk arrest at Quantico where Bradley Manning is now in his 297th day of detention? Virginia is not the District of Columbia, and word is you could be held for 48 hours if arrested. Time to put on the pink and get over the Union Station to catch the bus soon. More later...

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