WASHINGTON - August 18 - As the debate intensified Tuesday with regard to the civil rights of peaceful demonstrators flocking to NYC to express their dismay with the Bush administration, four activists from the group CODEPINK: Women for Peace were arrested in the Sheraton New York Towers Hotel. The women were in the process of unfurling a 40 foot long pink banner reading You Say Welcome, We Say Where -- 8/29 Central Park? in response to the press conference being held by NYC Mayor Bloomberg unveiling the citys discount program for demonstrators. Claire Droney and Colleen Galbraith, both 23, were released yesterday afternoon. Andrea Buffa, 37, of Oakland and Manhattan resident Danielle Ferris, 24, are expected to be arraigned on charges today. The banner was in reference to permits denied to the group to rally peacefully in Central Park. The NYC mayoral press conference Tuesday took place at NYC and Co. Headquarters, 810 7th Ave, and Mayor Bloomberg was flanked by former Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins.
By presenting a pink slip to Mayor Bloomberg, CODEPINK wanted to draw attention to the discrepancy between the Mayors words in front of the TV cameras and his actions behind closed doors, explained Jodie Evans, one of the founders of the organization. Requests for permits to rally peacefully in the park have been categorically denied. We do not need discounts at Applebees; we need an administration that sets a course for peace and respects our right to speak.
This latest action staged by CODEPINK continues the tradition of giving pink slips to the Bush Administration and other elected officials. CODEPINK has been an active presence in the lead up to the Republican National Convention. Activities have included a legion of pink Statues of Liberty at the New York City Public Library bearing messages that NYC Loves Free Speech and to Give Bush a Pink Slip, and (wo)manning a pink lemonade stand in Bryant Park, complete with information about supporting our troops by bringing them home from Iraq.
"I find it the height of hypocrisy that the Mayor is issuing an NYC welcome mat to protestors, at the same moment the city is authorizing the arrest of four peaceful women trying to oppose the city's egregious censorship of space," stated Galbraith after being released from jail. "New York City has denied not only the United for Peace and Justice Central Park rally permit, but has systematically made it virtually impossible for activists to speak out in public space, print media, and public art."
CODEPINK is sponsoring a Women Against War event to be held at the historic Riverside Church on Saturday, August 28. They are organizing a womens rally and march to join with the massive United for Peace and Justice anti-war march on Sunday, August 29. On Tuesday, August 31, they are co-sponsoring a Shut-up-a-thon outside Fox News.