Anti-war protesters disrupt US defense budget hearing

An anti-war activist stands in front of the White House
© AFP/File Jewel Samad

AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Anti-war protesters repeatedly disrupted a congressional hearing Thursday on US defense spending, with one demonstrator shouting “You are murdering people!” as police dragged him out of the room.

One by one, protesters clad in pink shirts stood up and voiced their opposition to US military action, forcing a grim-faced chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, to repeatedly bang his gavel to suspend the proceedings.

“How many lives?” said an elderly woman clad in a pink shirt, as a police officer pulled her out of the hall. “How many lives?”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had to halt his opening statement several times as protesters interrupted him.

Public support for the 10-year-old war in Afghanistan — where about 98,000 US troops are deployed — has steadily declined but has generated no massive street protests, with most voters preoccupied with the country’s struggling economy.

Although the war has become unpopular, a large majority of Americans supported the rationale for the 2001 US-led invasion after the attacks of September 11.

At the hearing, Panetta said the US mission was drawing to a close in Iraq and that efforts were underway to hand over security to local forces in Afghanistan between now and 2014.

© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license

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