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Citizens Disrupt Congressional Panel on War Funding

By Pete Perry

Today more than a dozen peace activists lined up outside the hearing room for the House Appropriations Committee in the Rayburn Building. Four of us were with the D.C. Anti-War Network (DAWN), and we were near the front of the line, but we were soon joined by those who are fasting as part of Voices for Creative Nonviolence's Winter of Our Discontent Campaign, Code Pink and Dorothy Day Catholic Workers.

The hearing was started more than half an hour late, but we waited. Finally when the hearing was going to get underway, we were told the hearing room was full, which turned out later to not be true, and the first dozen or so of us were led to an "overflow room" where we could watch the proceedings on closed-circuit TV.

Others further back in the line I suspect were being led to another room, when we heard the gavel begin to signal the beginning of the hearing. Four of us got up at that point and walked into the hall. The first one of us waited for the door to open for a staffer to leave the room, he ran in and looked at the committee members face to face and shouted "Stop funding war and torture," he got this out and as a large undercover Capitol Hill Police officer was grabbing him and pulling him out he added "Stop the killing, stop the extraordinary rendition."

As he was pulled all the way out, two more of us rushed in, this time walking even further into the room so we were just a few feet from where the congressmen sat. On one end of the dais sat Murtha, on the other DeLay. Murtha looked stonefaced but nodded as we did our action, DeLay smuggly chuckled.

My friend pointed at all the members and said "You are funding death! Stop the illegal and immoral war."

I held up my hands and said "The blood is on your hands, the blood is on your hands and cannot be washed away."

My friend was pushed out, and our other friend never made it into the room. As the plain clothes police officer grabbed me, I went limp, so he had to drag me out, but not before I shouted "How many more Iraqis and Americans must die?"

After we were thrown out of the room, the door closed and we were allowed to walk out of the building of our own free will. Some of our friends, I later learned, were able to interrupt the proceedings again, and I would like to learn how. This news piece only mentions the disruptions in one line:

Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. the Senate Appropriations Committee meets on the very same issue. Rumsfeld is expected to testify.


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