Protesters strip down in Boehner's office

Nov. 27, 2012 at 7:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Three people were arrested after seven stripped naked in U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's office to protest potential AIDS research funding cuts, police said.

U.S. Capitol Police said three protesters -- all female -- were charged with lewd and indecent acts based on Washington's disorderly conduct code, The Hill reported.

Tuesday's protest was organized by Health Global Access Group, Queerocracy, Act Up N.Y. and Act Up Philadelphia, the liberal Talking Points Memo website said. Organizers said automatic federal spending cuts set to take effect in January could lead to substantial cuts in HIV/AIDS funding, which could cost lives.

Protesters removed their clothing to reveal the word "AIDS" and "AIDS cuts kill" on their bodies.

They chanted: "Boehner, Boehner, don't be a dick, budget cuts will make us sick," and, "The budget cuts are really rude, that's why we have to be so lewd."

They also chanted: "Fight AIDS. Act up. Fight back," and, "End AIDS with the Robin Hood tax, no more budget cuts on our back," TPM reported.

The protest had gone on for about 10 minutes when Capitol Police told protesters they faced arrest if they did not put their clothes back on and leave Boehner's office, The Hill said. All seven protesters put their clothes on and left Boehner's office, and the three women were arrested as they remained in a hallway to talk to reporters, TPM said.

One of the three, Jennifer Flynn, said: "We are here today to tell the naked truth about these budget cuts. The truth is that people with AIDS have been stripped naked for years -- Medicaid has been cut, states are [struggling]. ... There are waiting lists in this country where people with AIDS are dying."

Boehner's office said the Ohio Republican was not present at the time of the protest at his Longworth House Office Building office.

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