Monday, March 16, 2009

Protester outlasts 4 US presidents

Protester outlasts 4 US presidents
Published: Monday, Mar 16, 2009, 0:33 IST
Place: Washington, DC | Agency: AFP
Concepcion Picciotto is president Barack Obama�s closest neighbour, but don�t expect her to be invited over for tea any time soon, not while carrying on the longest continuous act of political protest in the US.
Each morning like she has for the past 28 years, Picciotto pulls back the plastic flap of her makeshift shelter in Lafayette Park and stares across the street at the White House, but the protester-in-residence voices little hope that Obama will make a difference on issues that dominate her life: ending US interventionist wars and banning nuclear weapons.
�No, they�re all the same,� Picciotto laments about the commanders-in-chief she has literally watched come and go since 1981, when she and fellow activist William �Doubting� Thomas began their 24-hour White House peace vigil.
�It�s a revolving door,� she said. Obama and the other presidents she has outlasted, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush � �don�t support peace.� �It�s against what they do: invasions, occupations, wars.�
Some Americans dismiss the Spanish-born Picciotto, who declines to give her age but is said to be 64. She has been cursed at, spat on and beaten up and that�s just by the police, she claims.
Picciotto wants to write a book about her experiences. But for now she appears content with bringing her issues to light for the million or more tourists and Washingtonians who see her vigil each year.