After Hiccup, DC Protester Resumes 32-Year Vigil

Concepcion Picciotto's shelter near White House was temporarily dismantled

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 13, 2013 1:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – Anyone who's visited the White House over the last 32 years might have noticed a plastic protest shelter across the street in Lafayette Park. It's been there since 1981, with now 77-year-old Concepcion Picciotto—she's anti-nukes and anti-war—either staffing it or making sure her helpers do. This week, however, Park Police dismantled it on a technicality, reports the Washington Post. The move drew so much attention given the shelter's reputation as a fixture in DC that it was back up within hours.

What happened is that a staffer who was supposed to be at the vigil all night left early. (He's a vet struggling with PTSD, says a Picciotto supporter.) Park Police then moved in, citing a rule that "a 24-hour vigil requires no permit but must be continuously occupied." When the shelter was AWOL yesterday morning, Picciotto and her supporters got help from DC congressional representative Eleanor Norton, who pulled some strings and helped get it put back into place. And Picciotto is back in action, too. "Now more than ever we need to communicate to people the danger of the nuclear bomb," she says, per the LA Times.

Protester Concepcion Picciotto.
Protester Concepcion Picciotto.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Concepcion Picciotto sits on a park bench after her protest shelter was removed by Park Police Thursday. It's back now.
Concepcion Picciotto sits on a park bench after her protest shelter was removed by Park Police Thursday. It's back now.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
The empty area across from the White House, where the protest shelter stood before it was removed by Park Police Thursday.
The empty area across from the White House, where the protest shelter stood before it was removed by Park Police Thursday.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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