For Immediate Release
Codepink Requests Apology And Charges Dropped
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On New Year's Day, sixty peace activists organized by CodePINK:
Women for Peace gathered on both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge to walk
across one of America's great landmarks in vigil for the 3,000 US servicemen
and women killed in Iraq and for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who
have died since the US invasion and occupation.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers blocked the pedestrian walkway
on the San Francisco side of the bridge, saying the mourners did not have
a permit for a demonstration. CodePINK women
responded that they were not demonstrating but only wanted to walk peacefully
across the bridge to commemorate the 3,000 deaths. Initially the CHP allowed
tourists to pass through our group and begin their walk on the bridge.
CodePINK complained that "this was our
bridge and we cannot be denied access". The CHP then stopped all
walkers and bicyclists from entering the span.
After an hour, a group of ten walkers in pink came into sight. They had
come from the Marin County side of the bridge, walking peacefully and
respectfully to honor those who have died. Finally, after two hours, CHP
announced that the bridge was closed to pedestrians – that it was
private property, and the owners had closed it - and CodePINK
had to leave, which they did not do. Ten CodePINKers
were then arrested for trespassing, even though they hadn't set foot on
This action by law enforcement resulted in unfortunate delays and inconvenience,
both to pedestrians and bicyclists who were prevented from crossing the
bridge, and to motorists due to a lane closure to accommodate law enforcement
CodePINK members received an outpouring of
support from tourists (US and foreign), at least one Vietnam War veteran,
and passersby in vehicles. There had been no intention by CodePINK
to cause any delays to pedestrians or motorists.
Supervisors Jake McGoldrick and Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Supervisors
who sit on the Golden Gate Bridge Commission, spoke on Channel 7 news
January 2nd, saying that the officers may have overreacted. The two Supervisors
have authored a resolution for the Board of Supervisors requesting all
charges be dropped.
CodePINK co-founder Medea Benjamin stated,
“Risking arrest and paying fines are sacrifices
that I along with thousand of others are willing to face as long as the
injustices committed by our government continue. This sacrifice is small
in comparison to the sacrifice of our men and women serving in the military
and innocent civilians that have lost their own lives or have lost family
CodePINK is asking the CHP to drop the charges,
apologize to those arrested, and to acknowledge the public's right to
walk across the bridge.
CodePINK is a women-initiated grassroots
peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop
new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other
life-affirming activities. For more information go to www.codepink4peace.org