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Speaking truth to power today in the Senate

Vets, military families protest against
war funding, 14 arrested


For Comment:
Tina Richards, 573-247-8059
Pete Perry, 571-271-1313

WASHINGTON – Today the US Senate voted to approve its revised form of the military supplemental, and within the same hour 14 peace activists were arrested inside a Senate office building.

The Senate voted 51-46 to pass the $124.2 billion spending bill at around 1 p.m. At the same time a coalition of military families, veterans and anti-war groups held a dramatic protest inside the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. The protest featured the reading of letters from military families calling for a swift end to the occupation of Iraq, two 600 square foot banners and a funeral honoring the next fallen soldier.

The arrests began to occur during the funeral portion of the protest alongside the giant Alexander Calder statue in the center of the atrium. Among those arrested were, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip-Hop Caucus and Adam Kokesh with Iraq Veterans Against the War who served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Marines.

“These are letters from Families who don’t want their sons and daughters to be sent off to Iraq for a third, sometimes even fourth tour of duty,” said Tina Richards, mother of Cloy Richards, a Marine who served two tours of duties in Iraq. Others joined Richards in reading several poignant letters.

Kevin Zeese, director of Democracy Rising was also arrested. Zeese is a former independent candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maryland.

“We know that Bush may veto this bill, but we don’t think it goes far enough in bringing our troops home,” said Pete Perry of the Washington Peace Center. “Funding this quagmire for another year is not bringing them home.”

The citizen activist groups involved in organizing and participating in today’s dramatic protest included United for Peace and Justice, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, GrassrootsAmerica4Us.org, Washington Peace Center, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Artists Against the War and Code Pink.

Footage of the protest can be found on YouTube and Google Video.
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