Peace protesters hold up Senate hearing as Blinken delivers testimony
The Senate panel hearing was focused on the State Department’s budget.
During a hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee at the Senate on Wednesday, anti-war protesters caused disruption multiple times as Secretary of State Antony Blinken was testifying before the Senate committee and presenting the proposed FY24 budget for the State Department and USAID.
Videos circulated online of Blinken being interrupted several times as he was speaking due to anti-war activists yelling at the diplomat to cease fueling the conflict in Ukraine.
They were seen holding banners reading the name of an organization called CODEPINK, an organization focused on peace and human rights.
"If you don’t like the Chinese proposal, where is your peace proposal? The American people want you to negotiate. Be a diplomat. Do your job now," CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin said while being escorted out of the hearing by police.
Today, US Secretary of State Anthony #Blinken attended the meeting US Senate Appropriations Committee.— Arthur Morgan (@ArthurM40330824) March 22, 2023
The event was interrupted by an activist who called on the politician to start negotiations with #Russia rather than continue the escalation of the #war. pic.twitter.com/kyxVRDdUFc
Another activist named Samantha was removed from the hearing as she was calling Blinken to lift sanctions on Cuba and that the country is not a state sponsor of terrorism.
WATCH: Our Latin America campaigner Samantha is removed from a Senate hearing for telling @SecBlinken that Cuba is not a state sponsor of terrorism. Listen to Latin American leaders — take Cuba #OffTheList! pic.twitter.com/0k8VNXlKKZ— CODEPINK (@codepink) March 22, 2023
As Benjamin was being escorted out of the Senate by the police, she told reporters that Blinken is not a diplomat, that he did nothing to end the conflict in Ukraine, that sending more weapons to Ukraine was not the right solution, and that the State Department’s budget may as well be part of the Pentagon’s.
Read more: Peace rallies held in Washington DC to protest US militarism
Since last Saturday, protesters from over 200 organizations have been marching in the streets of Washington, demanding that the US cease its proxy war with Russia in Ukraine.
They were seen in the city center holding banners reading "Feed the People, Not the Pentagon," "Fund People's Needs, Not the War Machine," and "Disband NATO."
🌟On Saturday, over 200 organizations rallied nationwide to demand: "Money for people's needs not the war machine!"— ANSWER Coalition (@answercoalition) March 20, 2023
🌟The actions were anchored by a national demonstration attended by thousands in front of White House in Washington, D.C.
📸Washington, D.C. pic.twitter.com/ye6wfqF0A2
Organizers said that the peace demonstration aims to warn people of a "global war," while also raising public awareness of "the human and financial toll of US militarism at home and abroad."
The rally further coincided with the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, organizers noted, which Blinken made no mention of during his hearing at the Senate.
Read more: NATO weighs deploying 300,000 troops on Russia's borders