For Immediate Release
Hundreds Rally at Obama Campaign Offices for PFC Bradley Manning, Veterans and Allies Arrested
OAKLAND, Calif. - Six veterans and activists in Oakland, and six more in Portland, OR, were arrested Thursday night at Obama campaign offices for occupying the spaces in solidarity with accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning. Dozens of veterans and anti-war demonstrators coordinated a West Coast set of actions that also included protests in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Seattle.
Among the approximately 100 Oakland protesters was Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, who participated in the sit-in, said, “We occupied the President’s campaign office to raise awareness about the injustices Bradley Manning has endured. Bradley has sacrificed for us, doing what was right despite potentially spending the rest of his life in jail.”
In Los Angeles, Iraq War veteran Kevin Baker explained why he supports the Nobel Peace Prize nominee: “Generals say Bradley Manning put lives at risk, but they’re the ones who put us at risk, keeping these things secret and lying us into war.”
Protesters delivered a letter to campaign staff members, which they requested be sent to President Obama at the main campaign headquarters in Chicago. The letter makes its demands clear: that President Obama pardon PFC Bradley Manning, accounting for both his abusive treatment in a Quantico prison cell and the president’s own unlawfully prejudicial remarks that Bradley “broke the law.”
Campaign staff eventually agreed to email it to the national headquarters. Still, several activists remained in each city awaiting President Obama's response to their demands, and police eventually took six in Oakland and six in Portland into custody.
Veterans are calling for similar actions nationwide during the Democratic National Convention, and for rallies at Ft. Meade, MD, when Bradley returns to court on August 28, and again on October 1. See photos and video of the rally, and see U.S. News and World Report’s coverage here.