by the Partisan Sacramento Bureau; this article was originally published in Partisan issue no. 23, printed April 2007.
The historic 52-day Peace-In at Rep. Doris Matsui's Sacramento Congressional office ended March 22 with the arrests of seven activists, including two Peace and Freedom Party Central Committee members. Five of those arrested were military veterans.
The arrests came at the end of the business day as the demonstrators attempted to continue reading the names of those killed in Iraq. The seven activists were arrested for refusing to obey the orders of a federal police officer, taken to a federal booking facility, given citations, and released on their own recognizance. Authorization for the arrests is understood to have come originally from Rep. Matsui herself through a senior staff member. A trial date has not been set at press time, but those arrested are expected to object to the $125 fines.
The honor roll of arrestees: John Reiger, C.T. Weber, Dan Delaney, Scott Verhoef, Sheila Laracy, Cres Vellucci, and George Main. Main is president of the Sacramento chapter of Veterans for Peace. Reiger and Weber are members of the Peace and Freedom Party State Central Committee. Some 100 other activists participated in the occupation of the congressional office, the longest event of its kind.
While claiming to oppose the war, Matsui (D-Sacramento) continues to vote for funds to fight it. Since the Democratic Party majority took over the U.S. Congress on January 4, 2007, an additional 9,000 Iraqis and 290 Americans have been killed in Iraq, a toll that grows with every day of delay. (The totals will be higher by the time this paper is off the presses.)