"Don't Ask" protesters arrested at White House, police block reporters

Wed. April 21, 2010 12:00 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

getequal members take action against dadt

photo credit // getequal.org

White House police pushed media away from 'don't ask' protest

Washington, DC - On Wednesday six gay activists will be in court after they were arrested at the White House.

They handcuffed themselves to the fence yesterday afternoon in an effort to draw attention to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

This was the second time around for Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, who were arrested last month at the White House for doing basically the same thing.

"We are handcuffing ourselves to the White House gates once again to demand that President Obama show leadership on repealing 'don't ask, don't tell'," said Choi. "If the president were serious about keeping his promise to repeal this year, he would put the repeal language in his Defense Authorization budget."

The other four people arrested were also members of the military: Petty Officer Larry Whitt, Cadet Mara Boyd, Airman Victor Price and Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen.

Politico.com and Fox News report that in an unprecedented move, police on Tuesday removed reporters from the area of the protest and closed Lafayette Park for about 15-20 minutes in response to the gay rights protest.

The U.S. Park Police tell Politico.com that some young officers erred in pushing reporters back and stressed that the White House played no role in the decision.

"That was strictly the U.S. Parks Police that screwed up – that has nothing to do with the Secret Service of the White House or the Administration," Sergeant David Schlosser told Politico.com. "We had some young officers who, when they were told to move the people back -- which we typically do when we're going to make arrests - they moved the people back a lot further than we typically do. That was a rookie, amateur error and they screwed up on that."

The protesters are with GetEqual, the same group that heckled President Obama during a fundraiser for California Senator Barbara Boxer earlier this week.

View Video as White House closes Lafayette Park due to gay-rights protests: (Video by John Aravosis)