Pelosi protesters plan civil disobedience in SF

Anti-war hunger strikers who’ve been fasting since Aug. 12 outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s San Francisco office and home say they intend to risk arrest at 1 p.m. Thursday by staging a “symbolic shutdown of the federal building” at 450 Golden Gate Ave.

The fasting activists presented a letter to the Speaker asking for a meeting; the letter reportedly was signed by 30 prominent peace and justice groups including Iraq Veterans Against the War, the San Francisco Labor Council, Jewish Voice for Peace, American Muslim Voice and MoveOn. A news release issued this evening by CODEPINK says Pelosi District Director Dan Bernal informed them “that the Speaker does not have time to meet with them or any of the peace groups in her diestrict anytime during the August recess,” hence their impending sit-in.

CODEPINK fasters and activists also had staked out the home and office of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., but DiFi met with them Tuesday and so they agreed to decamp.

“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.”

UPDATE @ 3:35 P.M. THURSDAY 8/23: Five CODEPINK hunger strikers and peace activists were arrested this afternoon — Toby Blome, Jody Paulson, Pamela Stephens, Nancy Mancias and Pamela Bennett — under Code of Federal Regulations 102-74.385, failing to comply with official signs or a federal police officer’s lawful directions. One activist, Rae Abileah, claims to have been injured after a federal police agent allegedly pushed a door into Abileah’s body.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.