Woman who peacefully protested in front of White House for 30 years dies

Connie Picciotto at her protest site on the edge of Lafayette Square across from the White House September 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Concepcion Picciotto, the woman behind “the longest political protest in American history”, has died. For 30 years, she held a constant peace vigil in Lafayette Park, right across the White House, protesting nuclear proliferation. The Spanish immigrant, thought to be around 80, had vacated her encampment just days before, and passed away in a nearby apartment she shared with three roommates. With hand-lettered signs saying “Read My Lips, No New Wars” or “Live by the Bomb, Die by the Bomb,” she had become a familiar sight in Washington D.C. and had gained wider national recognition when she appeared in Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. While she saw five different presidents come and go, they never really acknowledged her. “Not a single president ever walked across the street from the White House to meet her or to recognize her quest for peace and justice,” Ralph Nader, an admirer of hers, told the New York Times.

Schroeder Stribling, the executive director of women’s shelter N Street Village, said the eccentric Picciotto was seen at the vigil site as recently as last Wednesday and had been in declining health. Stribling said her friends would likely organize a memorial service for her and ensure she was not buried in a pauper’s grave. “What’s happening in the aftermath of her death is testimony that she did accomplish something” she told The New York Times. “She was a person of passionate attachment to some ideas. You can call that sane or not, but it made a difference.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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