For Immediate Release
March 21st, 2006
Contact: Joy Ellison, Media contact
"Senator Wyden: Lead U.S. Out of Iraq"
19 Oregonians Deliver Anti-War Petitions to Senator Wyden's Office:
Delegates Arrested, Media Refused Entry
(Portland, Oregon) On March 20th, a delegation of 19 Oregonians took the call for peace to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden's office where they engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience to urge the Senator to introduce legislation ending the occupation of Iraq. Members of the media were turned away when they attempted to enter the federal building where delegates were eventually arrested and charged with failure to comply with a federal officer. They delivered a petition with 1,800 signatures to Senator Wyden's Portland office. After attempting to negotiate with the Senator and his senior aids, the delegation announced their intention to stay in the office until the Senator agreed to negotiate. Senator Wyden's staff refused to speak with the delegates and threatened them with arrest.
At a rally in support of the delegates, 10 community leaders held a press conference. They included community leaders, veterans, Jewish, Quaker, Pagan, and Christian leaders, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, and Eman Ahmed Khamas, an Iraqi woman journalist. They explained why Oregon residents demand that Senator Wyden take the lead in ending an overwhelmingly unpopular and illegal war.
On Sunday, March 19th, over 15 thousand Oregonians marked the third anniversary of the war in Iraq by holding a peace rally and march. The Portland event was one of the largest in the nation.
Senator Ron Wyden voted against authorizing the war following citizen pressure in 2003. Delegates hope that the Senior Senator will take this opportunity to show leadership. Citizens began a new lobbying campaign in January 2006. After calls, visits, and letters, the Senator was unresponsive and a delegation announced their intention to offer nonviolent civil disobedience.
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