On the 18th of November, 26 activists against the US drone killing program packed into pro-drone Senator Schumer’s office demanding he issue a statement denouncing the use of armed drones for assasinations.
His national security staffer was present and refused to even call him to seek such a statement. As a result the protest escalated into arrests.
Senator Schumer’s office was almost completely filled with anti-drone activists to the point that more had to remain in the hallway. A letter to the Senator was read out, followed by the names of those killed by US drones, focussing on children.
Sen Schumer’s Foreign Affairs/National Security staffer complained that the protesters were a “fire hazard,” drawing a rebuke that the drones are a worse hazard. He offered to discuss matters in the hallway, protesters knew bettter and stayed in his office. They opened a passageway to allow entry and exit to prevent anyone from using obstructed access as an excuse.
At this point, activists resumed reading the names of the dead, and began taping pictures of drone victims to the walls, the desks, the TV, and the front glass doors.
When Capitol Police arrived, they did not demand activists leave. Instead, they insisted on closing the doors. At this point most activsts left, but three grandmothers and one man, all with considerable experience in antiwar activism stayed behind.
It eventually became obvious the Capitol Police or more likely the Senator’s staff had decided to avoid arrests over the drone program and the 4 activists could stay all day. At this point all four changed tactics. They exited Sen Schumer’s office and began reading the names of those killed by US drone over the edge of the balcony into the massive Hart Building atrium. Anytime protesters start speaking out there, a massive din always rises.
At this point, Capitol Police warned the 4 activists to stop reading names of the dead or be arrested. All four called the threat, all four were arrested. As of 6:30PM, two calls to the US Capitol Police seeking information on whether or not they would be released have not