US Park Police remove 32 year old peace vigil in DC

Concepcion Picciotto held a vigil for 32 years across the street from the White House, protesting war and nuclear proliferation. Her small encampment never left the edge of Lafayette Square, her tent surrounded by signs with slogans like “Read My Lips, No New Wars.”
“I’ve been beaten up, arrested many times and gassed,” said Ms. Picciotto, who is 77 and maybe five feet tall.

Early Thursday morning, the United States Park Police confiscated Ms. Picciotto’s tent and signs when she left for the night. They left only a pale footprint on the red brick sidewalk. Office workers passing by were caught off guard by the vigil’s conspicuous absence.

According to the National Park Service, a 24-hour vigil site like Ms. Picciotto’s does not require a permit, but it must be continuously attended.

“With no one attending the site, the officer collected the materials and placed them in a U.S. Park Police storage facility for safekeeping until they could be retrieved by the owner,” the park service said in a statement.

“It’s been there since I’ve been here, even longer,” John Tomasetti, 26, said on Thursday as he walked back to his office carrying lunch. “I was pretty surprised.”

“I think everyone has the right to say his opinion and to demonstrate, especially in the U.S.A.,” said Wivke Brinkman, 42, a tourist from Germany. “This is not so nice.”

“People have the responsibility to protest and protect the planet from destruction,” Ms. Picciotto said.

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