Washington, DC – At just past noon on Wednesday, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and the rest of the Bring Them Home Now tour were stopped by a pair of squad cars two blocks from the US Capitol by members of the Capitol police force. Officers explained that they wanted to use bomb-sniffing dogs to inspect the caravan of three RVs and several cars.
The officers said it was standard practice to inspect large vehicles in the area. “RVs aren’t allowed on Capitol Hill,” one said. “That’s standard procedure. Any trucks that come on Capitol Hill are stopped and turned around.” Campers aren’t allowed at all, the officer said, “unless they’ve been previously authorized.”
Officers told the peace activists they couldn’t park at the Capitol because they don’t have the proper permits. Sheehan and company then began preparing to make the rest of the trek on foot. Awaiting them near the Capitol steps were a crowd of television cameras for a scheduled noon press conference.
Earlier this week in New York City’s Union Square park, police officers unplugged Sheehan’s microphone, saying she didn’t have a proper permit for that either.
People with Bring Them Home Now seemed unfazed. “It’s always something,” said Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out, whose husband spent a year fighting in the Sunni Triangle. “It’s just part of the deal.”
The conference is being held by Sheehan and the others to announce their arrival in Washington and to kick off a weekend of resistance that is expected to include a march of 100,000 people and mass civil disobedience.
At 1:30 p.m., Sheehan and her allies plan to head to the White House, where they’ll attempt to give President Bush a letter asking him to answer the question, “What noble cause are our loved ones dying for?”
Ferguson noted the following day that Sheehan did succeed in meeting with Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and several other legislators.
Neither Clinton or Reid, who both voted for the war, were willing to reverse tracks and push for a U.S. withdrawal now. Nevertheless, Sheehan reported feeling “fabulous coming out of the meeting.”
“I know their offices are going to be working with us; all we have to do is keep up the pressure on them,” Sheehan said, adding, “Now it’s up to the people of New York to put pressure on Clinton.”
See our last post on the politics of the anti-war movement.