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Feds arrest peace group members

Members of peace group CodePink staged a peaceful protest at the Phillip Burton federal building yesterday to draw attention to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's refusal to talk to anti-war constituents and peace groups. Five members of the group were arrested by federal authorities for failing to comply with official signs.
Photos by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

August 24, 2007

Five CodePink anti-war protesters were arrested yesterday in San Francisco outside the Phillip Burton federal building during a peaceful protest aimed at drawing attention to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's refusal to speak with anti-war constituents and peace groups.

As many as twenty, mostly female protestors, blocked all public entrances and exits to the building while carrying signs that read "Fasting for Peace," "Hungry for Peace," "Silence is not an option Madam Speaker," and "Madam Speaker silences our voices."

The largest banner simply read "IMPEACH."

Pelosi, who initially voted against going to war in Iraq, has voted for all but the last funding appropriation in support of the Iraq war -- to the tune of $456 billion and counting -- while touting "No blank check for Iraq."

The Speaker also refuses to pursue articles of impeachment against President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for perpetrating war crimes against humanity based on false intelligence. It is widely believed that the so-called 'War on Terror' is a Bush Administration mask for the ulterior intention of controlling Middle East oil and gas reserves.

Meanwhile, 3,724 U.S. service personnel have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 28,308 have been wounded or maimed for life, as many as 655,000 Iraqis have been killed and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes.

The protestors, who taped strips of pink duct tape across their mouths to symbolize what they believe Pelosi expects from her constituents, held a press conference before using their bodies to block ingress and egress to the building.

"We're putting pink duct tape on our mouths to symbolize that Nancy Pelosi has silenced us," said CodePink member Toby Blome before she was arrested.

"Our question is why can't Nancy Pelosi come and talk to us like decent human beings," she said. "It is obscene, and we need to let her know how angry we are about it."

Federal and local authorities resisted intervention for two hours before making arrests. Several members of the public and federal employees were prevented from entering or leaving the building.

One man managed to force his way into the building by manhandling a female protestor, pulling and pushing her aside to gain access. Other members of the public, although expressing their support for the protest, also expressed frustration at the inconvenience of not being able to get back to work, or to mail letters.

One protestor responded, "Yes, we know it's an inconvenience. Imagine how inconvenient it is to lose your son or daughter for an unjust war based on lies."

A protestor is manhandled by a member of the public.





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