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Report on Protest in Congress
By Pete Perry
After my action today here are some of the questions and statements I encountered from the Capitol Hill Police...
"What group are you with? Are you with ANSWER?"
"Have you tried to communicate your message to the elected officials by other means?"
"You know you can get a permit for the park over there, or you don't even need a permit to stand on the sidewalk ont he other side of the street (C Street) and hold a sign if you wish. However, you were disrupting a committee hearing."
Please note: Congress has "Rules of Decorum" but most of them are unwritten. This is what came into play when Cindy Sheehan was detained for four hours on the night of the State of The Union -- for simply wearing a t-shirt.
I asked if I was being detained, the first two wouldn't answer, but the third one, Brent Mills, said yes and again told me to hand over my driver's license. They also told me that one of the senators had a complaint, but about a minute or two later I was told that no charges were being pressed against me.
This is what happened before this somewhat brief detainment: Rumsfeld and Condeleeza Rice sat before the Senate Appropriations Committee. The gavel had already been struck, but there were only four senators present.
Rice was giving her opening statement, and again made the assertion that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had to be pursued because of the attack ont he Twin Towers. And about 30 seconds after that -- I stood up and said "How many of you have children int his illegal and immoral war? How many of you here have children in this illegal and immoral war." One senator struck the gavel and said "order please." I then said "You have blood on your hands and it cannot be washed away. You have blood on your hands and it cannot be washed away."
I was then touched ont he arm by an officer, and I decided to start walking out on my own, but "shouted end this illegal and immoral war," and "fire Rumsfeld." I was allowed to walk out of the building by myself, but then when I was just getting to the public sidewalk I was stopped.
Laurel Jensen has told me she caught me on CNN.
I believe DAWN needs to get a lot more involved in nonviolent disruptions that are both timely and speak truth to power. I have learned that two participants of the Winter of Discontent were held in jail last night. We need to show these folks, who have been bravely fasting, a lot more solidarity.
Personally, I will begin moving away from all permited actions in favor of nonviolent direct actions. I just feel like this is a direct way to disrupt business as usual in our fucked up government, and at the same time defend our civil liberties.