Several hundred men, women and children marched to the White House last night to protest the Persian Gulf War, and 62 were arrested after kneeling on the Pennsylvania Avenue NW sidewalk.
The march, which began at St. Aloysius Church at North Capitol and I streets NW, was sponsored by Pax Christi USA, a 19-year-old Roman Catholic peace organization, and by the Sojourners community, an inter-denominational religious group. Religious leaders among the group included the Most Rev. Thomas J. Gumbleton, auxiliary Catholic bishop from Detroit and Pax Christi's president; Bishop Walter F. Sullivan of Richmond and Benedictine sister and lecturer Joan Chittister.
Following instructions they had received earlier in the day, the entire group first walked to Lafayette Square, across from the White House. They then crossed Pennsylvania Avenue and paraded in front of the White House. Those wishing to be arrested knelt in front of the north fountain, and sang hymns. As the arrests began, the demonstrators not arrested marched back to the park.
Earlier in the park, Sojourners Magazine editor Jim Wallis had reminded the crowd why they were braving the coldest night so far this winter.
"We will raise, over and over, the moral issues," he said. "We are calling for an end to the bombing tonight."
Before the bombing, 78 people were arrested at the White House in a series of similar protests. Fourteen were arrested the night the bombing began.
Staff writer Eric Charles May contributed to this report.