Arlington police arrested 21 protesters yesterday after they chained themselves to the front door and one another at Bush-Cheney campaign headquarters during a demonstration against administration policies.
About 120 protesters took part in the demonstration outside the building on Wilson Boulevard that houses the campaign headquarters, police said. The protest began about 2 p.m. and lasted 90 minutes, they said.
The protest was organized by ACT UP and Housing Works, a nonprofit agency that provides social services, housing and health care to people with AIDS in New York, said Robert Cordero, director of federal advocacy for Housing Works.
"We are here to protest the failures of the Bush administration's AIDS policies," Cordero said. "There are 40,000 new infections per year in the United States, more people uninsured, more people who need housing."
The protesters were charged with trespassing, and police used bolt cutters to remove seven people who had chained themselves to the front door, said Matt Martin, a police spokesman. Fourteen other people, chained to one another, were removed from the office, he said.
Sharonann Lynch, a member of ACT UP, criticized what she said was under-funding of programs to combat AIDS globally.
Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign, said the president is "fully engaged in the fight against AIDS."
"The president has proposed a five-year, $15 billon initiative that triples funding to fight AIDS in the hardest-hit areas of the world," Griffin said. "Domestically he has increased funding by 27 percent in AIDS research, care and prevention since taking office."
He said the protest is part of the democratic process.
"We understand that," he said. "At the same time, it's important that it doesn't disrupt the work environment."
Several of the protesters carried signs with a picture of Vice President Cheney and a statement he made during the vice presidential debate Oct. 5 In response to a question by moderator Gwen Ifill -- who asked about the AIDS crisis in the United States, where black women ages 25 to 44 are 13 times more likely to die of AIDS than their counterparts -- Cheney said he had "not heard those numbers."
Idell Gillard, 52, said she came from New York to take part in the protest because of the AIDS crisis.
"There are a lot of heterosexual women of color being affected by this. . . . They continue to die, leaving their children behind," Gillard said. "The Bush people have continued to ignore this."