Revolution #017, October 9, 2005, posted at revcom.us
"Being arrested is not a big deal. Even though we were arrested for ‘demonstrating without a permit’ we were protesting something that is much more serious than sitting on a sidewalk: the tragic and needless deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Americans (both in Iraq and here in America) who would be alive if it weren’t for the criminals who reside in and work in the White House."
Cindy Sheehan, Sept. 26
On Monday, September 26--two days after more than 200,000 marched in Washington, DC to demand an end to the U.S. war in Iraq--hundreds of determined protesters were right back in the streets of the capital. They went up to the heavily guarded fence around the White House. And by the end, over 370 people were arrested--including Princeton professor Cornel West and Cindy Sheehan, whose antiwar encampment outside Bush’s Texas vacation ranch this summer inspired millions in this country and around the world. Earlier in the day, 41 people were arrested at a sit-down protest at the Pentagon.
Many of the people who joined the White House action were ready to go to jail if necessary. A 34-year-old woman told reporters, "I’m going to do anything I can to stop this war. As many times as it takes me to get arrested, I will."
At the White House, people tied ribbons, signs, and names of those killed in the war to the fence. One young man climbed the fence--and was immediately set upon and dragged away by a large group of security forces.
Cindy Sheehan and others demanded to see Bush--as she has been doing since early August. She wrote later,
"We again wanted to know: What is the Noble Cause? Our request was, to our immense shock and surprise, denied… He knows there is no Noble Cause for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. It is a question that has no true answer."
A group of protesters wore orange jumpsuits and black hoods--evoking the prisoners at the U.S. military prison at Abu Ghraib. One of these protesters said,
"I want this image in the minds of the American people. What our country is doing is practicing torture. We cannot be a part of this torture."
As cops carried and dragged arrested protesters into police vans, chants rose from the rest of the crowd: "Arrest Bush! Arrest Bush! Arrest Bush!"
The following are some voices from the protesters, heard on a short video ("a truthout/shoot and run production") available online at truthout.org
Man: "At home I do small things. I send money. I join groups. I join small gatherings. But it doesn’t seem to be working. So enough is enough already. If my voice has to be heard through me getting arrested, so be it."
Young woman:"Hi Mom, I’m almost in jail."
Women from Code Pink, singing to the tune of Don McLean’s "American Pie":
Why, why Mr. President why?
You didn’t fix the levees
Now the water’s too high.
Spending all our cash on a war that’s a lie
You don’t care if poor people die.
Not in Our Name National Organizer AiMara Lin: "We are serving this eviction notice to George Bush. We’ve endorsed the call to drive out the Bush regime and this is our first action. We’re serving this today (points to a sign saying ‘Notice to Terminate Tenancy’) and it says: George W Bush you are hereby notified to quit and get the hell out immediately, if not sooner. His whole crew is next."
Interviewer: "Do you plan on being arrested today?"
Woman: "Yes I do."
Woman: "Because I’m committed to stopping this war--now. NOW. Do you hear me out there? NOW. We’ve got to get out now… We’re sick of it. And we’re not going to take it any more. Got it?"