Protest Tent by the White House Taken Down After 32 Years

Photo by PoPville flickr user elliotmitchell

Thanks to a reader for sending from National Journal:

“Anyone who’s ever walked or rode a bike by the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue has noticed an addition to Lafayette Park that city designers hadn’t envisioned: a small tent, sandwiched between two yellow signs calling for an end to nuclear proliferation.

It has stood there since 1981. But at around 1:45 a.m. Thursday, it was taken down.”

Update from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office:

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today had staff call the U.S. Park Police after learning that Concepcion Picciotto’s peace vigil was removed from its location in front of the White House last night. Following the call from Norton’s office, the Park Police agreed to the return of the vigil, and Picciotto was informed where it had been taken and how to get access to get it, and supporters have taken her to retrieve her belongings. The vigil, which has stood in front of the White House for more than 30 years, was removed under Park Service rules, when left unattended last night or early this morning by an activist who was to remain with the vigil for Picciotto.

“I appreciate that the Park Police have worked with us to defuse a growing controversy about the removal of Concepcion Picciotto’s belongings,” said Norton. “She is well known for her willingness to engage in principled activism at considerable personal costs. She and her friends and allies have abided by the rules, and this single mishap by a fellow activist should not torpedo her longstanding vigil. In this city, we work together to find solutions.”

7 Comment

  • Taken down by the woman that inhabits the tent, or someone else?

  • Park Police are a bunch of buttholes. They have verbally and sometimes physically harrassed the people sitting watch at the vigil for years. They have been waiting for this moment for many years. Also, side note, I once got to witness the Park Police and Secret Service get into a pushing/shoving/name calling mini brawl arguing over who got to make arrests and break up a protest that was happening on pennsylvania ave right by this.

  • The guy in the picture kills me. He sits in front of the Canadian Embassy every day protesting petroleum exploration and use, while absorbed in his plastic laptop and wearing his plastic Teva sandals…

    He also held a “death fast” at some point last year. It clearly didn’t work.

  • I disagree with the message of these “protesters” but am pleased that their vigil has been put back up. It’s not so much the actual structure, but the principle that in this country we not supposed to be in a police state and that people have a right to express what’s on their minds. The increasing militarization of our domestic police forces makes it all the more important that heavy-handed actions like taking down the vigil tent when it was left unattended by mistake is not appropriate.

    • +1 it doesn’t matter whether you agree with the message or not; everyone should support principled, reasonable expressions of political speech such as this one

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