Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sen. Barbara Mikulski Has Her Own Constituents Arrested

Nonviolent Maryland citizens protesting Iraq War are taken away by Capitol Police; Senator continues to support war funding

Washington, D.C. - At 6:05pm today, Sen. Barbara Mikulski had Capitol Police arrest four of her own constituents when they refused to leave her office. The four were part of a group of 20 that nonviolently occupied Sen. Mikulski’s office for three hours that afternoon, reading the names of Iraqi and American dead in a memorial to those killed, and in a plea to Sen. Mikulski to stop voting for continued war funding.

Sen. Mikulski has refused repeated requests to meet with the Maryland groups opposing the war, and has said that she will continue to vote for funding for the Iraq war even while she claims to oppose it. She has also called President Bush, whose war plan the Senator is fully funding, a "reckless and dangerous" man.

The ceremony was a moving one for the participants, and started with a reading of the names of the 55 Marylanders who have been killed in the Iraq War. A gong was rung softly after each name, and their picture taped to the walls of the Senate office, where they stayed for three hours. Capitol Police and the Sen. Mikulski’s staffers also joined the protesters in a moment of silence for those who had died in the war, before clearing the office and arresting those who refused to go.

The four arrested had the following comments as they were taken away in handcuffs by police -

Kristen Sundell, 34, of Baltimore, MD: "We will continue to call on Sen. Mikulski to support our troops and the Iraqi people by voting against the supplemental war budget, and using her power to help end this war."

Steve Lane, 66, of Bethesda, MD: "Being arrested is a small price to pay to stand up and oppose this illegal and immoral war in Iraq."

Jean Athey, 61, of Brookville, MD: "We read names of American and Iraqi dead for three hours, and we didn’t even make a dent in the list. When is the killing going to stop?"

Peter Perry, 37, of Derwood, MD: "We plead with Sen. Mikulski to do the right thing, to stop being an accomplice to this horrible war and to vote against its continued funding."

The groups involved vowed to return, and are currently planning additional nonviolent actions at Mikulski’s offices in the coming weeks.

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