Why Were Anti-War Protesters Allowed to Spray-Paint US Capitol?

July 7, 2008 - 8:23 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A group of anti-war protesters spray-painted anarchist symbols on the steps and pavement outside the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, and police did nothing to stop them.

A conservative advocacy group says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should order an investigation into what happened and why.

"Surely, the tens of millions of dollars the American people have invested in the security of their Capitol means there is videotape that will assist in the identification and arrest of the perpetrators," the Family Research Council said in a message to supporters.

The Hill newspaper reported on Sunday that rank-and-file police officers had formed a security line to keep protesters away from the Capitol.

Those officers "were livid when they were told to fall back by U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse and Deputy Chief Daniel Nichols," the newspaper reported.

Morse told The Hill that a "splinter group of anarchists" had engaged in "minor instances of spay-painting" in an attempt to force a confrontation with U.S. Capitol Police.

"It is the USCP's duty and responsibility to protect the Capitol complex, staff and public while allowing the public to exercise their First Amendment rights... [and] at the end of the day, both occurred without injury to protestors or officers," the Hill quoted Morse as saying.

Morse said the protesters failed in their attempt to rush the Capitol's doors; and he told The Hill that the spray paint was "easily removed" by staffers from the office of the Architect of the Capitol, who came in on Sunday, their day off, to clean up.

Imagine the response if pro-life demonstrators had swarmed onto Capitol grounds simply to pray last week, said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. If the pro-lifers had "trespassed," Perkins mused, "the outcome would have been quite different."

"Unlike last Monday's peaceful pro-life protest, this mob of liberals was given access and leniency to commit criminal acts on government property. This special treatment is unacceptable," he added.

The U.S. Capitol chief of police reports directly to the speaker of the House, the FRC noted, and therefore it is up to Rep. Pelosi (D-Calif.) to order an investigation into the anarchists' behavior and the police response.

The FRC also noted that last week's March for Life, which attracted many more people than last weekend's anti-war protest, "earned little more than a footnote in the nation's news," compared with the front-page coverage given to the anti-war, anti-Bush forces.

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