Third Time’s the Charm? **Update** Queer Rising Activists Released

  • The service having id "propeller" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
  • The service having id "buzz" is missing, reactivate its module or save again the list of services.
Third Time’s the Charm? **Update** Queer Rising Activists Released

The day President Barak Obama set about on his last-minute tour of the Gulf of Mexico, a group of New York activists comprised of Queer Rising and Get Equal pulled their own NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) on Obama, chaining themselves to the White House fence. Six of them, including Queer Rising members Natasha Dillion, Nora Camp, Alan Bounville and Iana DiBona remain in a DC jail cell.

Anger has been building, especially over the last few weeks, as the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, seems to be sliding off the President’s Oval Office desk and on to his huge pile of State of the Union promises. Led by Queer Rising member, Justin Elzie, a former Marine, the New York-based group has been organizing DADT mini-actions around the city and meetings with decision makers in DC, but decided late last week, following a leaked letter from Defense secretary Robert Gates to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton that urged Congressional feet dragging on the bill, to join Lt. Dan Choi and 100 others in another White House protest. Choi, the outspoken face of the movement, has twice been arrested for staging similar actions last month, within weeks of each other.

The protest yesterday began innocuously enough in Lafayette Square, the park that faces the front gates of the White House.  Choi, who has been court ordered to stay away from the White House perimeter, was joined by former Vermont Governor and DNC chairman Howard Dean, as well as Servicemembers United Executive Director Alex Nicholson and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis. As the rally continued, the Queer Rising members cuffed their hands to the fence and began chanting their rallying cry, “I am somebody and I deserve full equality!”
Within minutes, the group of six (including two other activists) was arrested and taken to the Metropolitan Police Department’s 7th District in Anacostia, a DC quadrant known for its high crime and murder rates. Since about 2 pm yesterday, the activists have not been allowed to make phone calls or consult an attorney. An arraignment on charges of Failure to Disperse and Failure to Obey Police Orders was supposed to begin at 10 am this morning, but has been pushed back, according Jake Goodman, a Queer Rising member. They have now been held for more than 24 hours, without statements coming from either the White House or Congress regarding the incident. Queer Rising plans to proceed with other actions in New York this week, in the hopes that their key activists are soon freed.

**Update 4:23 p.m. ET**
A group of six activists, including four Queer Rising members, arrested yesterday while protesting DADT, have been released from a DC jail on $100 fine with the charges, including Disobeying Police Orders, dropped. At press time, the White House had no comment on the matter, which occurred while President Barak Obama visited the ravaged Gulf of Mexico. Queer Rising members Natasha Dillion, Nora Camp, Iana DiBona and Alan Bounville, expect to be on a train back to New York soon, to prepare for future events, including a Pride Parade at New York Senator Carl Kruger’s home next weekend.