IRAQ WAR VETERAN, 71-YEAR-OLD WOMAN ARRESTED AT INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE: Two were arrested while trying to bring peace message into parade
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Meredith Dearborn, 650 208 2788
Gael Murphy 202 412 6700

Two peaceful demonstrators were arrested today, July 4, at 1:30pm on Constitution Ave at 17th st, while they tried to enter the Independence Day parade with a message of peace.

Geoffrey Millard, 25, an Iraq War veteran who served on active combat duty for 13 months, walked into a break in the parade with a sign that read: “Support the Troops, Bring Them Home Now.” He was dressed in his military jacket with “Iraq Veterans Against the War” on the back and his many medals pinned to the front. He was stopped by the police, and when he tried again to enter the parade with his anti-war message and was subsequently arrested. As he tried to explain to the police that he simply wanted to march in the parade with his message, the crowd chanted “He earned the right!” and “Let the vets in!” behind him.

“When I was in Iraq, I used to dream of going home, getting on with my life. But I can't be silent now, knowing the horror of what is going on over there,” said Millard. “It is my duty now to speak out against this immoral, illegal war. That's why I felt it was my right and my duty to march in the 4th of July parade.”

Also arrested was Chloe Jon-Paul, 71, of CODEPINK: Women for Peace. She attempted to enter the march with her sign after Millard, and was also arrested by the police.

While she was being arrested, Jon-Paul said to the police, “I'm a 71-year-old woman. I don't want to be arrested. But if you're preventing our veterans from speaking for peace by arresting them, well, you'll have to arrest me too.”

Both Millard and Jon-Paul are on their first day of a hunger strike against the war in Iraq, called the “Troops Home Fast.” Thousands of others are fasting today in opposition to the war, and hundreds were in front of the White House this morning, holding a spiritual ceremony in preparation for their long-term hunger strike. The fasters who are here in Washington include former diplomat and army colonel Ann Wright, Iraqi Raed Jarrar, “peace mom” Cindy Sheehan, environmental activist and shrimper Diane Wilson, Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Reverend Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, and Franciscan priest Father Louis Vitale. Across the country, more than 3000 people are participating in the fast on July 4, including Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Alice Walker, and Willie Nelson.

For more information about the hunger strike, please see www.troopshomefast.org