"Codepink 10" Arrested New Year's Day At Peace Vigil To Honor 3,000 Dead American Soldiers; Golden Gate Bridge Closed To All Pedestrians And Bicycles

Contact: 
Sam Joi, 510-524-2776
PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY Janet Weil, 925-798-3831

January 4th, 2007

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 the bridge.

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 vehicles.

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 members.”

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 and www.bayareacodepink.org.