Des Moines, IA -- Police arrested three Iraq war protesters at the Iowa headquarters of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Monday after they camped inside and refused to leave until the Republican presidential candidate personally pledged to end the war if elected.
Mona Shaw, 56, Kathy Kelly, 55, and Robert Braam, 51, were arrested on charges of criminal trespass. The three were part of a group pursuing a mission called "Seasons of Discontent: A Presidential Occupation Project (SODaPOP)," which aims to pressure political leaders through peaceful protests to immediately end the Iraq war.
Holding up a banner written with "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" singing the "Auld Lang Syne," and reading the names of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis killed in the war, eight members of the Voices for Creative Nonviolence gathered outside the Locust Street office of Huckabee to protest his decision not to reply to a letter the group sent to him two months ago. The letter was on of many mailed to other presidential hopefuls asking them to pledge to have U.S. troops completely withdrawn from Iraq within 100 days after they assumed their White House post.
"We said if we didn't hear back we would be visiting them and staying in their offices until we received that commitment," Shaw told the Associated Press. "That was our plan in Gov. Huckabee's office today."
The group is also calling on White House hopefuls to end all military action against Iraq and Iran, rebuild Iraq, and provide "highest quality health care, education, jobs and training for veterans of our country's Armed Services."
Huckabee spokesman Eric Woolson is quoted by AP as saying Huckabee arrived during the protest but entered the office through another building entrance.
"The governor said the way to end the war is to win it. They clearly have a different position and their position is we ought to cut and run... There's a clear difference of opinion on that," Woolson said.
Huckabee has been the front-runner among GOP presidential contenders in national and Iowa surveys. Caucuses in Iowa on January 3 begin the primary season.
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