October 5th, 2009
08:25 PM ET
5 years ago

Cindy Sheehan arrested at White House anti-war protest

ALT TEXT

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."


Filed under: Afghanistan • Extra • Iraq • Popular Posts • White House
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Jackson

    Some of the comments above prove that a) lots of people here need their medications, and b) many "Americans" apparently don't believe in the free speech ideals they claim to be holding up and which they argue that our troops are fighting for overseas.

    Of course, on the other extreme, the myth that keeps getting perpetuated that this is the only nation where protesters "have the right to be heard" is just as laughable.

    October 5, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. Casual Observer

    I was wondering where the opportunity to comment on the supreme court issue of the cross on public land ordeal, could be found on this CNN site. If that is more important than this womans arrest article, I would agree. If the supreme court rules against the cross ,its suposed meaning and its function in reality they would be changing how the world defines death, as everyone knows that a simple cross defines death. Every state would have to pay loads of money to rid all the crosses in all the public ditches signifying a memorial for individual that have died in vehicle accidents in america. But wait that would sure stimulate the economy for a few hundred days, so why not do that.

    October 5, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  3. realistic

    Why mad at Obama? He didnt start the war, your beloved republicans did. Now if he would have stopped it you ungrateful losers would have condemned him for not keeping the nation safe. Go help poor children in the U.S and stop whining when the black man takes office and trys to clean up your mess......

    October 5, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  4. Alex

    Its kinda funny...its always the higher politicians that we blame....i mean wasnt the country mostly for the war in iraq like 6 years ago?

    October 5, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  5. Jeff

    How can any of you say we need to pull out of Afghanistan, That just sickens me to hear that. Do you forget why we went to Afghanistan? Do you remember how many times Al AL Qaeda has attacked our soil, along with our allies? I have had close friends die in that war.

    If troops want out they can get out when there contract is over, no one forced them to join, no one forced me to join. I can not explain how sick it makes me feel when you want to pull out, we still need to be there, the homefront is killing moral. Pulling out is like saying non of those lives matter, it just makes me sick.

    October 5, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  6. BillyBobTomRedcracker

    Doesn't anyone in our government no anything about history? We CANNOT win in Afghanistan. If we stay long enough, the Russians may start supplying weapons to the Afghans just as we did in the early eighties. For those of you that don't know, we supplied weapons so that the Afghans could shoot down Russian helicoptors and the Russians eventually went back home (after almost ten years) with their tails tucked between their legs. Does anyone besides me see a pattern? Why not just use the CIA and mercenaries to track Bin Laden and bring everyone else home?!

    October 5, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  7. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Where's MoveOn.org? I got a recent e-mail from them to oppose the war and nearly fell off my chair, recalling that they had dropped that issue after their decision to buy into all things Obama. Now that The One has done Jack Squat, maybe it's time to get back to peace as an issue.

    October 5, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  8. Johnny DC

    They aren't the Bush Wars anymore, morons. Just like this isn't the Bush Economy.

    Every day Obama leaves soldiers in Iraq, he is advocating and supporting the idea of war. It's that simple.

    October 5, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  9. rand

    what a moronic visual.

    October 5, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  10. Erin, Kentucky

    The difference between Cindy Sheehan and the teabaggers couldn't be greater! She is respectfully dissenting the wars in the middle east based on personal loss and FACTS!!! There have been many troops and civilians to die and it does need to end! The teabaggers are a bunch of fear-monger zealots, spreading lies and using racism, scare-tactics, anything possible to make people scared of any kind of change, and divide our country.

    October 5, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. Jason

    This lady is crazy and anyone that supports her is too. I am a proud Iraq war vet and I say keep fighting till the job is done. A withdrawl now would be a disgrace to all those that have died and been wounded over there.

    October 5, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  12. DJ

    Relax...get a clue. Obama is doing exactly what he said he'd do all along. Let's please get the facts straight people. Obama said all along going back to the primary it would take 1 – 2 years to pull-out from Iraq.

    Obama NEVER said he would withdraw from Iraq. He said he wanted to send MORE troop and not leave until we have finished off the enemy.

    October 5, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  13. di

    That excuse is getting old ~Robert Gibbs nor the president were aware of the protest. Surprized they did not blame Bush. (LOL)

    October 5, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  14. FL

    Why has oboma not made a choice as to continue his war or not? Because he has no concept of foreign policy, no experience in foreign policy and is afraid to make the wrong choice. Not because he is concerned for our troops but because he is concerned about his image. News Flash for the president by not making a choice you have. Your actions are placing too few troops in harms way for over 30 days now. They needed more troops then or to be pulled out then. Put on you big boy pants oboma and pick a side, people are dying .You have shown the whole world how weak you are on the world stage. Good job.

    October 5, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  15. traci

    How is this Obama's war? Bush started the Iraq war based on lie anyway. Let's not forget that!!

    October 5, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  16. Kim

    For anyone that criticizes this woman and calls her unpatriotic; anit-government, etc . I suggest you walk a mile in her shoes. There is no "normal" way to handle the loss of a child to an unwinnable war. I don't support the war either, and I've had a son injured in combat in Iraq, and I don't know how I would have acted had I answered the door, only to find a casualty notification officer.

    October 5, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  17. John

    It's not like she was arrested randomly, they were warned repeatedly and were ignorant. I'm glad she's speaking her mind and hope she will take some time to listen too.

    October 5, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  18. kyle

    So conservatives, you are compassionate for Sheehan now? lol you guys just can't make up your mind. I'm starting to believe that you people have no beliefs, because if you did than you would know how far to the left she is. But than again, you don't have any beliefs. Just things that you are told not to like or believe in...

    October 5, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  19. diana

    why are they wearing masks

    October 5, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  20. Obama Fan

    What are the anti-war protesters protesting? Have they not paid any attention to the fact that by the end of next year, all major combat troops will be gone from Iraq? As for Afghanistan, there needs to be a serious policy debate as to why we are still there. No more of this "up to the generals in the field" garbage. They want war all of the time. That is their job.

    October 6, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  21. 3rd party

    Thank you Cindy!

    October 6, 2009 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  22. Flipper

    Wow! Now that Sheehan is targeting the Messiah, the mainstream media and the Left have no use for her.

    Of course, they had no problem whatsoever in exploiting her tragedy for their political ends during the Bush administration. The Left manipulated her, used her, and then tossed her to the side like a piece of garbage when they were done with her. How many times (besides this article) have you seen the mainstream media report on Sheehan over the last 9 months now that Obama is president? Not very much, right? Now you know why.

    I've watched her at a couple of poorly attended news conferences on TV in the past. She often had problems putting together a coherent thought or sentence. She is clearly out of her league. I feel sorry for her.

    October 6, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  23. John Gray

    The delay Obama is making in making his political descision is the LARGEST victory he could give the Taliban and radical Islam ever. I have been in Afghainstan for the last 5 years! I totally understand their thinking! They believe our stupid idealistic media!

    October 6, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  24. R

    Really Cindy get a life! Do you even remember your son for something other than ur reason to keep acting like a looney? Your son took the oath and swore upon it, those of us who joined the military took the same oath. I know what the ultimate sacrifice means, do any of you? This incessant anti-war protesting isnt making me or my buddies cheer you on. I want to finish the job and come home with my head held high knowing we did our job, not come home with our tail between our legs because a bunch bleeding heart ninnies dont have the stomach to do what must be done. Some of you wonder why we are in afghan....does 9/11 and Bin Laden ring any bells? Is the memory of 9/11 faded so much you've forgotten?

    October 6, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  25. Barry

    I mourn for Cindy Sheehan's son. I have a son who served for 20 years, but is still alive. I can only imagine what it would be like to lose a child.

    I agree that we should get out of places where the USA has no national interests. However, Ms Sheehan's protests are wearing thin. She has become so obsessed with a cause, that she has lost any credibility. What was telling to me was that she did not support eithe rJohn McCain or President Obama in the last election. I have no time for people who completely check out of the system – regardless of their issue(s).

    October 6, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
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