SAN FRANCISCO - Demonstrators interrupted a speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday by recreating an image of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in which a hooded prisoner stood with his arms outstretched attached to electric wires.
Police detain a demonstrator after disrupting a speech by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club, in San Francisco, Friday, May 27, 2005. Shortly after Rice started speaking, four protesters stood wearing black robes and black hoods, an apparent reference to U.S. abuse of detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. The crowd applauded as the protesters were taken from the hall. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Amid tight security at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, three women and one man pulled on black hoods and cloaks and stood on their seats, acting out the scene caught in one of the photographs of abuse that undermined U.S. prestige abroad.
Rice initially continued her speech on American foreign policy under President Bush but paused when the protesters shouted "Stop the torture. Stop the killing. U.S. out of Iraq," as police led them out of the auditorium.
Medea Benjamin, one of the protesters, said they were kept in police custody for about an hour and a half and then released with a misdemeanor citation. "We feel we made our point," said Benjamin, a founding director of the human rights group Global Exchange.
A military jury convicted a female soldier earlier this month to six months in prison for abuses at Abu Ghraib, including wiring the hooded Iraqi prisoner in the photo.
The pictures of the mistreatment, which included sexual humiliation, badly damaged the international image of the U.S. military as it struggled to stabilize Iraq after the 2003 invasion.
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