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04/19/2007


Six Arrested In Front Of White House At DADT Protest

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Over 100 people gathered in front of Lafayette Park by the White House to protest DADT. Six protesters handcuffed themselves to fence and were soon arrested and carted off to jail by U.S. Park Police. Get Equal confirms via Twitter that the six will spend the night in jail.

Get Equal reports the six were chanting "we will not, disappear. We'll remember, in November," when taken away by police.

The Dallas Voice reports that one arrested protester “was proud when they took him away! Even happier when they let him keep his cigarettes.”

Among those in attendance were Lt. Dan Choi and James Pietrangelo who you recall were both arrested recently after chaining themselves to the same fence in protest.

From Metro Weekly: "As Choi was speaking to the crowd in Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, six activists -- Ann Tischer, Nora Camp, Alan Bounville, Natasha Dillon, Eiona DiBona & Mark Reed – wearing long-sleeved shirts to conceal their handcuffs, attached themselves to the same fence where Choi and Pietrangelo had been with four others two weeks ago."

Get Equal tweeted that Choi told the crowd: "President Obama, I would rather be a bugle for justice than a trumpet for your inaction."

Rgq Howard Dean made a surprise appearance at the protest and took to the megaphone with strong words of support for the repeal of DADT: "The truth is Dan Choi is here. If Dan Choi were still translating Arabic, we'd just be another step ahead of the game. We can't afford to lose any talented people. To kick talented people out of the United States military because they happen to be gay or lesbian makes no sense at all."

He added:

"If somebody is brave enough to take a bullet for the United States of America, they ought to have equal rights under the law when they come home just like everybody else does.

Watch video of Dean's speech, AFTER THE JUMP.

In related news Washington Blade Editor Kevin Naff posed questions yesterday to White House official Brian Bond about the letter we heard about on Friday from Robert Gates.

When the letter came up during a panel discussion highlighting LGBT officials in the White House, Bond read the prepared White House statement on how Obama’s commitment to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is “unequivocal,” but the president wants to wait on implementing repeal until the Pentagon completes its study of the law.

“If change were easy, we wouldn’t be having to have this fight right now,” Bond added. “I think that letter is a good example of how this is going to be a fight and a challenge.”

In response to the statement, Naff noted the White House seems to rules out full repeal at this time but leaves the door open for legislation with delayed implementation, and asked whether repeal advocates can infer that the president supports repeal “as long as the implementation is delayed until after December.”

Bond didn’t say whether the White House supports such a move but said an endorsement of such a proposal is part of an “ongoing discussion.”

(Dean Photo courtesy AMERICAblog)

Watch video of Dean's speech, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Six Arrested In Front Of White House At DADT Protest" »


Watch: Lt. Dan Choi Speaks Following Court Hearing

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Lt. Dan Choi spoke following his and Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo's court appearance in D.C. today. As I mentioned earlier, both Choi and Pietrangelo pleaded 'not guilty' and opted for a trial rather than to pay a fine. The trial will take place on April 26.

Said Choi, in part: 

"There was no freer moment than being in that prison. It was freeing for me, and I thought of all of the other people that were still trapped - that were still handcuffed and fettered in their hearts. And we might have been caged up physically, but the message was very clear to all of the people who think that equality can be purchased with a donation, or with a cocktail party, or with tokens, that are serving in a public role. We are worth more than tokens. We have absolute value. And when the person who is oppressed by his own country wants to find out how to get that dignity back - being chained up and being arrested - that's how you get your dignity conferred back upon you. And so I think that by actions, my call is to every leader - not just talking gay leaders - I'm talking any leader who believes in America, and the promises of America can be manifest. We're gonna do it again. And we're going to keep doing it until the promises are manifest. And we will not stop. This is a very clear message to President Obama and any other leader who supposes to talk for the American promise and the American people. We will not go away."

Watch MetroWeekly's video of Choi's remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Unequal  AmericaBlog reports that the Human Rights Campaign was "on lockdown" today for fear of sit-ins from protesters:

"Apparently HRC is on lockdown, out of fear that gays civil rights advocate, angry at the organization for providing cover for the President's and the Congress's in action on DADT and ENDA, might try to stage a sit-in. I hear that even staff had to use key cards to get into the building, as everything was locked up tight (normally the front door is open). Locking the building down like the gay CTU is certainly one option. Another is simply doing your job. NB "Inaction" is incorrect. The White House is quite literally not interested in doing DADT this year. And HRC is publicly misleading the community about it. That's why Barney Frank had to come out last Monday and ask the White House, publicly, to say that it wants DADT repealed this year."

Wayne at World of Wonder has a nice selection of shots from this afternoon's small protest in support of Choi and Pietrangelo in New York's Times Square, including the shot inset here of Rainblow Flag creator Gilbert Baker with his latest banner.

Watch MetroWeekly's video of Choi's remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Lt. Dan Choi Speaks Following Court Hearing" »


Video: NYC Times Square Protest in Support of Choi, Pietrangelo

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A Times Square protest is currently underway in support of jailed activists Lt. Dan Choi and Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo. 

Protesters are reportedly chanting: "Release the DC 2! Now!" "We are out, let us in!"  I recognize some members of Queer Rising and that's Rainbow Flag creator Gilbert Baker on the right.

Choi and Pietrangelo's D.C. arraignment is scheduled for 2pm at Courtroom 115, 500 Indiana NW. 

(image via Twitter: Clarknt67)

A brief video from Matt Retttenmund at Boy Culture, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Video: NYC Times Square Protest in Support of Choi, Pietrangelo" »


Status Updates on Dan Choi, Pietrangelo, and GetEQUAL ENDA Activists in S.F. and D.C.; Rallies Planned Today

Choiaction  

Big day yesterday. GetEQUAL has certainly shown they're serious.

Lt. Dan Choi and Cpt. Jim Pietrangelo are being held at D.C. Central Cellblock, without bail, until a court hearing today.

If you are in the D.C. area, you can support Choi and Pietrangelo today at 1pm at Courtroom 115, 500 Indiana NW.

Americablog reports: "It increasingly looks as though someone has decided to play hardball with Dan and James. The Park Police say that Dan is not being released on bail. Dan also has not made his phone call to the person designed to pay his bail - the person's phone number is written on Dan's arm, so there's no chance he doesn't have it. That means that Dan apparently is not being permitted a phone call, and thus not being permitted to have anyone pay his bail. Why not? We have just learned that Dan is in fact being charged with "failure to obey a lawful order," yet that charge usually means you get processed, you pay bail, and you leave. Then why are they not letting Dan Choi leave, but instead are holding him to be arraigned? Why are they apparently not permitting Dan his phone call?"

Robin McGehee

GetEQUAL reports that McGehee was released with a $35 fine.

GetEQUAL Activists in Pelosi's DC Office

Pam Spaulding has some photos of the activists sitting inside Pelosi's office. Four of eight activists were arrested, transported to Central Cell Block in D.C., where Choi and Pietrangelo were being held. They were released without bail. Their court date is April 6.

GetEQUAL Activists in Pelosi's SF Office

Six of the eleven activists sitting inside Pelosi's offices in San Francisco were arrested, according to GetEQUAL's Kip Williams. They were detained, cited, and released with a fine for disturbance charge.

MORE RALLIES

In NYC there is a protest outside the Times Square Military Recruitment Office from 12pm - 2pm in solidarity with Choi, Pietrangelo, and McGehee.

There is a DADT rally being organized in Orlando today.

No doubt I will hear about more, and will add them here.


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