Protests on Capitol Hill against Democratic health care expansion plans turned ugly when a dozen people were arrested in and outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office Thursday afternoon.
Capitol Police Public Information Officer Kimberly Schneider said in an e-mail to the Washington Times that demonstrators were arrested in or near Mrs. Pelosi’s personal office located in Cannon Building Room 235.
Four of them were charged with unlawful entry inside of the room, six were charged with unlawful conduct in the hallway outside and an additional two females were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct outside of the room, she said.
Thousands of conservative activists were on Capitol Hill Thursday to oppose health care plans the Democratic majority is pushing through Congress. Organizers of the event called it a “House call” and urged demonstrators to visit their elected officials and lobby them to oppose the plans.
But these weren’t the first round of arrests for the day. Nine universal health care supporters took over Sen. Joe Lieberman’s, Connecticut Independent, office Thursday morning. Each of them had to be dragged out by Capitol Police.
Update 5:45pm: Things also got rough for Smart Girl Politics Executive Director Teri Cristoph who says she was physically rebuffed by a senior staffer for Rep. Gerry Connelly, Virginia Democrat.
Mrs. Cristoph, a Burke resident, attended the “House call” event and attempted to meet with her congressman and interview him about health care legislation. When she arrived at the office she was questioned by Connelly’s staff about her camcorder. They told her she was not permitted to video tape because she was not press. At this point, she says Mr. Connelly’s Communications Director, George Burke, used some degree of force against her.
“He put his whole body into me so I would put the camera down,” she said. “He bumped into my right arm and his staffers saw it. I was shocked that he physically ran into me. it was not accidental.”
Mr. Burke told the Washington Times that “she’s making it up” and is pulling a “publicity stunt.”
“She was very aggressive and I put my hand very gently on her shoulder and she went ballistic,” he said.
“I have a daughter,” Mr. Burke said. “I’m a gentleman. I don’t push people around.”