Pentagon & White House
About fifty people gathered August 5-9 in Washington, D.C., for the annual Faith and Resistance retreat, commemorating the anniversary of the atomic bombings. A 12-hour vigil of prayer and reflection on the steps of the Pentagon River entrance was planned for Hiroshima Day, beginning before dawn. The group had been present for over three hours before the dawn brought police who informed the group they had ten minutes to leave or be arrested for demonstrating without a permit. Eventually, 18 were arrested on the charge, plus an additional count of failure to leave. All were released pending court dates October 1 or 15.
That afternoon, many went to support the stone walk (the memorial stone to civilian war dead that had been pulled by walkers from Massachusetts to D.C., to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery). Its arrival apparently unwelcome, the stone was impounded by D.C. police on the Memorial Bridge.
Saturday was spent in further study and reflection on the darkness of current wars waged by the United States, and planning for a peace witness at the White House on August 8. During that witness, five people were arrested inside the restricted zone on the sidewalk, and released pending a court appearance October 20.
On Nagasaki Day, the group returned to the newly built South Entrance of the Pentagon, where an elevated pedestrian ramp carries employees and visitors from the parking lot up and over the area where peace vigilers have usually met them. Demonstrators made it up onto the ramp and a dozen people assembled a blockade. Police arrested one man who was apparently recognized from the earlier demonstration, pushed the other demonstrators aside to shield those entering the building, and eventually closed down the entrance. The demonstration then moved to the Metro entrance before concluding.
Updating the consequences of December's Faith and Resistance retreat in Washington, Bill Frankel-Streit was released from prison September 24, after serving five months for depositing the "rubble of Iraq" on the sidewalk in front of the White House.
For more information, contact Jonah House, 1301 Moreland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21216, (410)233-6238.