Pope Arriving, Civil Disobedience Ramps Up

Above: National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance organized a protest at the White House on September 22, 2015. Photo by Kevin Zeese.

Peace protesters sit-in ourside White House seeking to meet with officials to deliver letter. Source Campaign Nonviolence.

Peace protesters sit-in ourside White House seeking to meet with officials to deliver letter. Source Campaign Nonviolence.

Note: On Septemeber 22nd, scores of peace advocates marched to the White House from the World Bank to urge peaceful solutions to disuptes around the world. Speakers linked militarization and US Empire to climate change, poverty and the vast wealth divide in the unfair economy.

Two dozen people attempted to deliver a letter to the White House and were stopped.“We shall not be moved,” sing Campaign Nonviolence participants outside the White House as they risked arrest blocking the gates. The fifteen people who were taken into custody were: Joe Byrne, Baltimore’s Jonah House, Don Cunning, Carol Gay, Mary Ellen Marino and Manijeh Saba, all from New Jersey, Joy First and Phil Runkel, from Wisconsin, Kathy Kelly, Art Laffin, Malachy Kilbride, a Maryland Quaker, Joan Nicholson, a Pennsylvania Quaker, Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, D.C.’s Ellen Taylor, Brian Terrell, Iowa, and the venerable Eve Tetaz in a walker, Washington, D.C. They were charged with disorderly conduct and are scheduled to be arraigned on October 15 in D.C. Superior Court. 

Max Obuszewski reports that “as the pope was greeted, the defendants were stuck in a D.C. jail.  It is presumed that the pope will not be informed that U.S. dissidents were also jailed, like those in Cuba. They came to Washington to call on our government to heed the words of Pope Francis and to stop the warmongering, protect Mother Earth and end income inequality.  If our elected officials fail to heed the pope’s warnings, our planet will continue to suffer irreversible and deadly consequences.” 

Prior to going to the World Bank a group of protesters went to Rep. Paul Ryan’s office to deliver a letter. When they arrived they cound themselves locked out. The sought to address the issues of the endless wars, poverty, and the climate crisis.


Locked out of Rep. Paul Ryan's office. Photo by Malachy Kilbride.

Locked out of Rep. Paul Ryan’s office. Photo by Malachy Kilbride.

Prior to these events there was a protest in Congress when (ret) General David Petraeus testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Petraeus urged the Senate to escalate war in the Middle East. Protesters called for an end to endless war and urged the senate to stop listening to war advocates like Petraeus.

This White House and Paul Ryan actions were organized by Joy First and Malachy Kilbride with a coalition of groups including World Beyond War CODEPINK: Women For Peace andBeyond Extreme Energy #BXE, with support from Popular Resistance‘s Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers and many, many more. The Patraeus protest was organized by CODE PINK.

Protest before Senate Armed Service Committee Sept 22, 2015

Protest at Senate Armed Services Committee. Source CODE PINK

Peace activists are planning a series of actions in Washington, D.C. and around the country coinciding with the visit of Pope Francis.

Today, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports “Five demonstrators were arrested Monday morning at the main gate of Hancock Field while demonstrating against a weaponized drone program operating out of the base. The group, which regularly rallies against the unmanned aerial vehicles and wars in the Middle East, held signs reading ‘Drones Kill Children’ before members were arrested. … The protesters said in a statement that they staged the demonstration in honor of the International Day of Peace, a UN-designated day of non-violence and ceasefire.” Activists from Catholic Worker communities participated in the protests. There were similar protests today organized by the Nevada Desert Experience, with three arrests outside Creech Air Force Base.

Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance “have been speaking out against the illegal actions of the United States government since 2003. They have organized numerous actions across the country involving nonviolent civil resistance as they call attention to the crimes of our government.

“Members of NCNR have written letters calling on both Congress and the White House to make drastic policy changes to bring about real change in ending war, poverty, the climate crisis, and systemic violence. NCNR has not received a response to either letter, so citizen activists will go to [House Ways and Means Committee chair Paul] Ryan’s office and the White House to seek a meeting to discuss these urgent matters. This action is part of the week of actions called for by Campaign Nonviolence with over 325 actions around the country between September 20-27.

“Just prior to the historic visit of Pope Francis, when he will visit the White House and address Congress, we call on our government to heed his words and stop the warmongering, protect Mother Earth and end income inequality. If our elected officials fail to heed the pope’s warnings, our planet will continue to suffer irreversible and deadly consequences.”

Speakers at the Tuesday rally at Edward R. Murrow Park near the White House will include Fr. John Dear and Kathy Kelly from Voices for Creative Nonviolence who was just in Afghanistan. She states she will risk arrest Tuesday because “the Obama administration bears responsibility to educate the U.S. public about the greatest terrors we face — the terrors of what we are doing to our own environment. Not one dime of U.S. resources should ever again go to war profiteers, war planners, and Pentagon exploits. Instead, those resources should be used to alleviate the impact of climate change and to meet human needs within the U.S. and beyond.” For more details, see the group’s Facebook page.