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In Hill Offices, Protest Takes a Subtler Form
As for the 192 demonstrators arrested Saturday, about five were still being detained yesterday because of outstanding warrants in other cases. The others, charged with illegally crossing police lines, were freed after paying fines or being issued summonses to appear in court, Schneider said.
Code Pink and numerous other groups opposing the Iraq war have planned several demonstrations this week in Washington and other cities, including protests yesterday at military recruitment centers. In front of a recruiting station, closed at the time, in the 1300 block of L Street NW, protesters marched all morning, their chants partly drowned out by construction noise.
"We have so many domestic needs right now," said Code Pink member Ellen Taylor, 54, of the Dupont Circle area. "We have education needs. We have serious health-care needs. We have reconstruction needs in New Orleans. And all these projects are getting shorted because money is being siphoned off by war contractors."
At the Rayburn building, the protesters gathered in the cafeteria at noon for lunch, talking excitedly about the afternoon ahead and occasionally shouting antiwar slogans. Then they rallied outside, chanting, singing and taking pictures, before organizing themselves for their march through the building's halls.
"People around the country have made it very clear," Benjamin said, addressing the demonstrators. "They went to the polls. . . . They voted to get out of Iraq. And the people in Congress are playing politics. They're playing inside-the-Beltway games."
Back in the building, the long line of protesters snaked along the halls, to the offices of Reps. Duncan Hunter and Dana Rohrabacher, both California Republicans; Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.). To each they delivered a "certificate of Induction into The Hall of Shame." Then they moved on to other congressional buildings.
"We'll keep pushing and pushing, and hopefully people will begin to listen," said Alexandra Herskovitz, 23, a Code Pink member from Los Angeles.
"There's just no way that over 100 people can come here and walk the halls of Congress and demand an end to the war and not be heard," said another demonstrator, Samantha Miller, 22, also of Los Angeles. "I know this will have an effect."