As President Barack Obama was unveiling a new report on progress of the war in Afghanistan, a lineup of high-profile dissenters joined in an act of civil disobedience that ended with about 135 demonstrators being arrested outside the White House Thursday afternoon.
The number of arrestees came by way of an attorney for one of the defendants, who spoke to Raw Story. (Update: the official number of arrestees was 131.)
At the same time the president was speaking, dozens of protesters, organized by Veterans for Peace, lined up along the White House fence in an act of civil disobenience. Many chained or tied themselves to the fence and chanted “End, end, end the occupation. Troops out now!”
Police spent several hours arresting demonstrators, taking photos of each one before placing them into vans.
Notable participants risking arrest included Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, retired 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern, FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley, and Pulitzer-winning former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges.
Raw Story was able to confirm the arrests of Ellsberg, McGovern, Rowley and Hedges, along with Veterans for Peace members Elliott Adams, Mike Ferner, Mike Hearington and Leah Bolger.
Protesters began gathering Wednesday night at St. Stephen’s Church in Washington, DC. The rally began Thursday at 10 a.m. in Lafayette Park. Several speeches were given on the importance of civil resistance before demonstrators marched single-file to the White House.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Thursday showed a record 60 percent of Americans believe the Afghan war is not worth fighting.
This video is from outside the White House on Dec. 16, 2010.
This video depicting an anti-war protest outside the White House was published to YouTube on Dec. 16, 2010.
Nathan Diebenow contributed to this report.
Pic sample credit: UPI.