SAN FRANCISCO – CODEPINK today said it is asking the CHP to drop the charges, apologize to those arrested, and to acknowledge the public’s right to walk across the bridge after 10 CODEPINKers were arrested on New Year’s Day at the Golden Gate Bridge as part of a vigil for the 3,000 US servicemen and women killed in Iraq and for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died since the US invasion and occupation.
Supervisors Jake McGoldrick and Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Supervisors who sit on the Golden Gate Bridge Commission, spoke on Channel 7 news January 2nd, saying that the officers may have overreacted. The two Supervisors have authored a resolution for the Board of Supervisors requesting all charges be dropped.
CODEPINK issued this statement:
“California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers blocked the pedestrian walkway on the San Francisco side of the bridge, saying we did not have a permit for a demonstration. We responded that we were not demonstrating but only wanted to walk peacefully across the bridge to commemorate the 3,000 deaths. Initially the CHP allowed tourists to pass through our group and begin their walk on the bridge. We complained that this was our bridge and we could not be denied access. The CHP then stopped all walkers and bicyclists from entering the span.
“After two hours, CHP announced that the bridge was closed to pedestrians – that it was private property, and the owners had closed it – and we had to leave, which we did not do. Ten of us were then arrested for trespassing. This action by law enforcement resulted in unfortunate delays and inconvenience, both to pedestrians and bicyclists who were prevented from crossing the bridge, and to motorists due to a lane closure to accommodate law enforcement vehicles.
“CODEPINK members received an outpouring of support from tourists (US and foreign), at least one Vietnam War veteran, and passersby in vehicles. There had been no intention by CODEPINK to cause any delays to pedestrians or motorists.
“CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin stated, ‘Risking arrest and paying fines are sacrifices that I along with thousand of others are willing to face as long as the injustices committed by our government continue. This sacrifice is small in comparison to the sacrifice of our men and women serving in the military and innocent civilians that have lost their own lives or have lost family members.'”
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities.