Above Photo: Felton Davis/ Flickr
Note: Steny Hoyer is the second ranking Democrat in the US House of Representatives. He has been silent on US involvement in the slaughter in Yemen. One of those arrested, Richard Ochs, reports that the last sentence of the article below is inaccurate:
I was one of the 7 people arrested in Rep. Hoyer’s office Yesterday. We want Hoyer to urge Democrats to vote for H.Con.Res 81, which requires Congressional approval before the President can engage in military action. Currently, the U.S. is helping Saudi Arabia bomb Yemen with arms and in-flight refueling, causing an epidemic of cholera and starvation.
“The last sentence in today’s Sun article published below is misleading. We were willing to meet with the chief of staff or a foreign policy advisor yesterday but we were refused even though we waited for 3 and a half hours. We did not want to meet with a secretary or receptionist. It was only after refusing to leave at closing time were we given the name of an advisor to contact for a future meeting.
“Our visit was preceded by attempts by constituents to get a meeting for two months. None of these requests were given the courtesy of a reply. It is obvious that Rep. Steny Hoyer does not want to hear from his constituents about his collusion with Saudi Arabia war crimes in Yemen.
“It is a shame that concerned citizens have to resort to getting arrested to get the Democratic Congressional Whip to help starving Yemen children more than Donald Trump Has. Trump called for the lifting of the blockade of Yemen’s port so food and medicine can get in. The Democrat in charge of corralling votes has not even done that. That is shameful and a disgrace!”
Capitol Police arrested seven people Thursday who held a sit-in at House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer’s office, officials said.
The protesters were demanding to meet with the Southern Maryland lawmaker about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
A group of about 12 protesters gathered in Hoyer’s office Thursday afternoon and refused to leave. They carried photos of Yemeni children, and some had their hands painted red.
They were motivated by “desperation and frustration that people continue to die in Yemen,” said David Bradbury, an Australian filmmaker who attended the protest. Years of war have devastated the country and about 75 percent of the its population is in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations. The Yemeni children’s poorest country has faced sustained bombings and famine.
The protesters believed that Hoyer has not used his “pivotal, crucial role in Congress” to spur the necessary action, Bradbury said.
Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said the group was charged with unlawful entry.
Annaliese Davis, a spokeswoman for Hoyer, said that when Capitol Police closed the office building at 7 p.m., the protesters were asked to leave and refused.
“A group of individuals arrived in Congressman Hoyer’s office this afternoon, and asked for a meeting with the Congressman,” Davis wrote in an email. “Unfortunately Mr. Hoyer was unavailable, but the individuals were offered a meeting with staff, which they refused.”