For Immediate Release: August 23rd, 2007
Contact:  For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 23rd

Nell Greenberg, 510-847-9777
June Brashares, 415-425-3733

Five Hunger Strikers and Peace Activists Arrested At Federal Building

Pelosi Refused to Speak with Peace Community

Today 5 CODEPINK hunger strikers and peace activists were arrested for a symbolic shut down at the Federal Building.  The women, Toby Blome, Jody Paulson, Pamela Stephens, Nancy Mancias, Pamela Bennett were arrested after blocking all entrances to the building for two hours.  They were arrested under code of federal regulations 102-74.385.  One CODEPINK activist, Rae Abileah, was injured after a federal police agent, who was unwilling to disclose her identity, pushed a door into Abileah's body.

The women, who have been fasting for 11 days to meet with Speaker Pelosi about the war, recently received word from Pelosi's SF Director Dan Bernal that the Speaker would not meet with peace groups in her district anytime during the August recess. Shut out and silenced by the Speaker, CODEPINK women held a symbolical shut down of the Federal Building on Thursday afternoon.

Women with CODEPINK: Women for Peace have been fasting and camping outside Speaker Pelosi and Senator Feinstein's offices for 11 days asking for meeting about the war. In response to the tents pitched outside her Pacific Heights mansion, Senator Feinstein held a meeting at the encampment with the fasters on Tuesday, August 21, after which the group agreed to end their camp at her home.  Speaker Pelosi, however, has refused to meet and called the hunger strikers “nuts.” The fasting activists presented a letter to the Speaker asking for a meeting.  The letter was signed by 30 prominent peace and justice groups in the Bay Area, including Iraq Veterans Against the War, the San Francisco Labor Council, Jewish Voices for Peace, American Muslim Voice and MoveOn.

“Pelosi's SF director, Dan Bernal, said the speaker refuses to meet with any of us, but won't give us a reason why,” said hunger striker Nancy Mancias. “We will block the entrance to the Federal Building to symbolize our lack of representation by our elected representative.”

With the August recess and Congressional representatives all over the country meeting with their constituents, CODEPINK and a coalition of San Francisco peace groups have sent multiple requests for a meeting. All their attempts have been rebuffed.

“The speaker has plenty of time for fundraisers and luncheons with donors. She even made a surprise appearance at a Democrats and Donuts coffee klatch gathering in Ahwatukee, Arizona, and the organizers gushed about how much time Pelosi gave them,” says CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin. “It's outrageous that she has time for everyone but her constituents who want to talk about the most pressing issue facing this nation.”

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