Dozens of protesters were arrested after they gathered in front of the White House to call for the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the war in Afghanistan nears the start of its ninth year, a group of anti-war protesters gathered in front of the White House today to express their disappointment that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not yet over, and to request a meeting with President Obama.
An estimated 500 people from different anti-war groups gathered on the sidewalk in front of the White House. A few chained themselves to the fence, some laid down on the sidewalk as if they were dead, and others chanted: "mourn the dead, heal the wounded, end the war!"
The protest was peaceful, though U.S. Park Police said that 61 people were arrested for failure to obey a lawful order after the crowd was repeatedly asked to move back from the sidewalk. According to Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser, all were cited and released.
Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2004, was among the protestors, and was one of those who were arrested. She said she had not been a supporter of President Obama or of Sen. John McCain during last year's election but said protestors were running out of patience. "I think the mood of the country and the mood of our movement is getting a little bit more desperate, and (that) this will be the time to be able to translate our tireless activism and work for peace," she said.
Sheehan added that President Obama has been in office long enough to start working towards peace in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that his supporters want him to make those changes.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that neither he nor the president were aware of the protest until it was mentioned in the daily briefing to the press, adding: "I think the president has long believed that whether your opinion is on one side of this issue or the other, that this is the greatness of our country, is that you get to amplify that opinion."
These family members should be very angry. But not at President Obama. The responsibility belongs to the Bush administration.
Well, at least insanity knows no political boundaries.
Sheehan has a right to protest. Whomever is president, she'll be there until both wars are over.
People need to really think yes we are in 2 wars but do you think we can just pull out and stop a war? When you are in a fight against your enemy you just cannot turn your back and walk away, and then think that its over there have to be an stratergy first. So if we just turn our backs on our enemy now we will be toasted.
I find it amazing how peaceful protests are frowned upon in this country. unless its run by the right wing nutjobs at Fox Noise. any real protest is seen as unamerican, but lest we forget our country came to be after a mulitple protests, more violent than the ones today, and then a revolution which is the step after violent protests. I find it unamerican to look down upon protesters seeing as how they are doing their job as Americans, questioning the governments decisions on not just how its going to affect all the white people and their money that they love so much, but on a global scale too. fyi there is a reason so many countries dislike us and why were not the best country in the world. if you cant figure it out then you need help. go protests.
"If you make peaceful protest impossible, then you make violent revolution inevitable" – John F. Kennedy
Is there a website that tracks the "Obama Death Count" in Afghanistan?
We made this mess. It's our responsibility to clean it up. It doesn't matter if the Presidential administration has changed. We can't leave those Afghanis and Iraqis who supported the U.S. and a change in regime to pay the price if we simply withdraw.
As I recall, a majority of Americans supported the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, so no matter what lies that were told, no matter how badly we were fooled, we are also responsible. We need a way to withdraw our troops, but it can't be at the price of innocent, civilian lives.
I never supported the war in Iraq, but we started it. We need a responsible way to finish it. We can't afford to act like children, can't just say "Stop the Wars!" and expect it to happen. We, the people, as much as any President, are responsible.