Yesterday, dozens of protestors were arrested outside of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. during a street action orchestrated to hand-deliver a letter to President Obama endorsing ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Among those arrested was famed "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan whose son Casey died in Iraq in 2004.
Protestors chanted peace slogans and shouted past the gates toward the White House lawn in order to try to get the White House's attention. Sheehan, who gained notoriety in 2005 in her peace efforts at "Camp Casey" outside of former President Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch, chained herself to the White House gates standing defiantly and recited from the Internatonal People's Declaration of Peace. She wore a black shirt that read, "Greed Kills."
Many of the protestors dressed as U.S. military Afghan terror captives in uniform orange jumpsuits and dark black hoods covering their heads. Reminiscent of pictures from Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other hotspots of American detainee torture and abuse, several protestors opted to keep wearing their dark wool hoods as Capitol Police cuffed and led them away.
Before protestors were led away, Capitol Police appeared on horseback with a ground police unit as well which quickly surrounded the impromptu protestors peacefully gathering on Pennsylvania Avenue. Thronged by black shirted squadrons, arrest was an evidently imminent priority for District of Columbia Police although no violations or incitements were being made.
While the mainstream media has declared the anti-war movement dead and mocked it for its dereliction of duty, this high-profile protest is a dim light in a dark abyss. As neither of these accusations hold true, it is only all the more evident that the high-handed intimidation tactics used by local and federal officials to stymie and stifle free speech is the real mockery and danger the media should highlight. The erosion of civil rights has reached a point in America where any political speech is now considered suspect and reasonable cause for arrest and harrasment. Until public outlook on this basic and genuine human freedom changes in favor of those who wish to voice when given no voice, a dark road of suppression and denial awaits us.