Sunday, December 19, 2010
135 Arrested For Civil Disobedience at White House
131 rebels were arrested for civil disobedience at the snow covered gates of the White House, including Daniel Ellsberg, Ray McGovern, Chris Hedges, Margaret Flowers, Coleen Rowley, Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans and scores of veterans and supporters from WWII, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan... The message chanted in the freezing, 22 degree F snowy day was "Obama, Troops Out. End the War."
People who have engaged in civil disobedience routinely describe how it can literally produce a "high" like a religious experience. Here, you can see the people, knowing they are going to be arrested, virtually all of them having been arrested before-- thoroughly enjoying themselves. From Left to right: Top Row: Ray McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, Margaret Flowers. Bottom Row: Debra Sweet, Jodie Evans, Medea Benjamin (Photo by Rob Kall)
At the White House gate, one protester used a bicycle lock to lock himself to the gate. Another used a chain with links at least half an inch in diameter chained himself to a post. Apparently, the handcuffs many had intended to use to chain themselves to the fence were confiscated.
Protesters coordinated the protest with the DC police, discussing details and logistics.
The first to be arrested appeared the most elder and frail-- a kindness by the police, considering that a lot of snow was coming down and it was a soggy 22 degrees F-- after over three hours exposed the elements. Several protesters refused to walk, so they were dragged by the police to be photographed, put on a bus and later released.
I spoke to Ray McGovern, a bit before ten tonight, to find out what happened to the protesters. His report and comments on the protest are below:
We were put on a bus, then taken to the Park police depot, searched, groped more in depth than ever before.
Gave personal data, and had to choose whether to pay $100 and plead guilty or plead not guilty and go to court (later.) I chose the latter.
Commenting on the turnout and the number of people participating in civil disobedience, McGovern commented, "It's more than anyone really expected. I was glad we did it.
I asked Ray about what he hoped to see come of the exercise in civil disobedience. He replied, "There's a saying that hope is the twin. Augustin said that hope has two daughters-- anger and courage.
What we have seen in our policy is a lot of anger, But anger is not enough, you've got to have courage.
The basic flaw in the body politic is that it is malnourished on genuine information, so the attitude that expresses itself by people saying Americans can't handle the truth. Well that isn't very clear because Americans haven't been given the truth. So the jury is out on whether or not Americans can handle the truth. But the issue is now joined because there is a fifth estate, namely Wikileaks and sites like it that are making information available to US citizens.
Once the citizenry becomes informed, in an unbiased way, about what is really going on, perhaps they'll do something.
Once the citizenry realized our military are being brutalized themselves.
There are more deaths from suicide than they are for war.
We want people to ask themselves what we're doing out there.
Hoping to be faithful and bring attention to this and leave it in the hands of the higher power that people's hearts will be touched, they will realize the one thing we've turned a blind eye to the thousands of other prisoners who have been tortured by other Iraqis. That we've killed at the very least 100,000 civilians... by the most stringent estimates.
Others who participated in the civil disobedience action expressed hope that the example set here would encourage others, across the country to take action at a time when elected officials are no longer accountable.
Please visit OpEdNews for full videos and images to see the Quieting of America