BY ETHAN GENAUER
May 8, 2010
In advance of an announced protest by Code Pink women for peace, the U.S. Army shut down their annual weapons exhibit, closing it to public access while the women marched around the weapons and sang for peace, all in view of Congress.
CODEPINK women, bringing the energy from their peace festival with comedian Roseanne Barr at John Marshall Place Park, marched at 3:45 pm on Saturday, May 8 to the military fair, calling for a celebration of life and peace, not weapons and warfare.
A group of about 40 women peace activists, and several dozen more children and male allies, arrived at the military weapons exhibit to find it already shut down and fenced off from public access, in anticipation of their protest.
This was greeted as a small victory, and the women proceeded to protest for almost one hour — in the face of heavy police surveillance and intimidation — around the perimeter of the displays of tanks and other military vehicles framing Congress.
The women handed out “Arms are for hugging” stickers around the Military Arms Exhibit. They carried their 150-foot banner created out of 6,000 knitted squares, knitted by women around the world, that takes an excerpt from the original 1870 Mothers Day Proclamation, “We will not raise our children to kill another mother’s child.”
The women also sang peace songs, in the process resisting numerous police warnings that they were not allowed to sing without a permit, in order to counter the official celebration of war and violence with a message of hope and joy.
“It saddens us that every year the military holds a war machine exhibit on Mother’s Day. This is a slap in the face to all peace-loving mothers around the world who work to shield their children from the tragic effects of war,” says CODEPINK Cofounder Medea Benjamin.
“It violates the original intent of Mother’s Day, which was a call for peace, a call to disarm and build a world without violence.”