Dozens of people who are part of Occupy DC, camping out in Freedom Plaza and McPhearson Square, packed the line on October 13 to get into the House Armed Services Committee where Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was testifying. Only 15 people were allowed in and none were allowed to even quietly hold up signs—a clear violation of their free speech.
One by one, seven people who managed to get inside got up to protest the wars. CODEPINK Alli McCracken, 22, held up a sign saying “Fund My Education, Not Your Wars.” “My generation only knows war and a bankrupt country. We deserve better,” she yelled, as she was yanked out and handcuffed by Capitol Police. Also arrested was 21-year-old Iraq veteran Michael Patterson, who was sent—at the age of 18—to be an interrogator in Iraq. “You are murdering people; I saw what you do to people in Iraq!” he shouted. “Then you refuse to even take care of our veterans when they return.” Nancy Brennan, 63, asked “How many lives will be sacrificed? How many lies will be told?” as she was arrested.
The protesters who were left in the hallway and not allowed inside chanted, “We are the 99 percent and we don’t support these wars.”
The group put out a statement saying:
“We represent the 99 percent of Americans who have been hurt by these endless wars that have robbed us of trillions of dollars and destroyed our economy.
We are outraged by the continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. This violence kills untold numbers of innocent civilians, it kills and maims our soldiers for no reason, and it bankrupting our nation. It does nothing to ensure our security. On the contrary, the occupation of other people’s land makes us hated, recruits new adversaries, and perpetuates an endless cycle of violence.
The only ones who have gained from these ten years of war have been the weapons manufacturers and the military contractors. It is time to stop listening to the war profiteers and listen to the American people.
Bring our troops home now! Stop the drone attacks! Cut the bloated military budget and invest those funds in rebuilding America!”