State News
Protesters Sing Interrupting Obama's Speech
By Trevi Williams
Apr 23, 2011 - 8:57:53 PM

Barack Obama, photo courtesy of Facebook
FRANCISCO—A group of demonstrators, protesting the government’s alleged treatment of Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, broke into song interrupting President Barack Obama’s speech at a fundraising event held at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco on Thursday, April 21.


The president was attending his final fundraising event, of several scheduled, during his two-day trip to the Bay Area in order to drum-up financial support for his 2012 Presidential Re-election Campaign.


Those attending the fundraising event at the St. Regis Hotel paid a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $35,800 for tickets. 


The White House pool reports that President Obama was addressing a crowd of approximately 200 donors when a woman, identified as Naomi Pitcairn, an Oakland activist, stood up and said, “Mr. President, we wrote you a song.”


The president reportedly asked the woman to refrain at the time, but Pitcairn, along with her entire table broke into a song that emphasized the $5,000 donation made in order to be at the event as well protesting the treatment that Bradley Manning has endured during his solitary confinement at the Marine-run facility in Quantico, Va.


Bradley Manning, photo courtesy of Facebook
During the singing demonstration and passing of signs displaying “Free Bradley Manning,” Pitcairn, dressed in a white suit, removed her jacket to reveal a black t-shirt with the words of “Free Bradley Manning” circled around Manning’s image.


Private Manning, accused of providing tens of thousands of confidential embassy cables to WikiLeaks, was said to have been stripped of his clothing on several occasions, and forced to stand in the nude outside his cell during routine inspections at Quantico.


In addition, Manning was reportedly held to 23-hours-a-day solitary confinement and given the additional hour of a day to exercise in an empty room.


Reportedly, the president seemed perplexed and looked to California’s Democratic House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, who gave the president’s introduction to the crowd, to get assistance in dealing with the unexpected interruption by the protesters.


Regaining his composure, President Obama complimented the group saying, “That was a nice song,” describing it as “an example of creativity.”  The president returned to the subject at hand, getting Americans back to the excitement displayed during his 2008 Democratic Presidential Campaign that promoted a “change we can believe in” and the slogan, “Yes we can!”


Pitcairn, without resistance, was removed from the event by a police escort.


President Barack Obama previously stated that he defended the treatment of Private Manning at Quantico.  The president stated,  “If I was to
Midwest Joint Regional Facility, photo courtesy of Wikipedia
release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law—We’re a nation of laws.  We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate—He broke the law.”


Manning’s supporters were previously focused only on the alleged treatment of the 23-year-old private at Quantico, but after the president’s statements in response to their outcry, seemed to turn their disapproval towards President Obama.


On, April 19, The Pentagon announced that Manning will be moved to the U.S. Army-run Midwest Joint Regional Facility in Fort Leavenworth, Ka.  The medium-security facility houses inmates sentenced to five years or less as well as those awaiting trial.


According to Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton, garrison commander at Fort Leavenworth, Manning will be able to interact with other inmates and receive three meals a day along with three hours of recreational time, activities allegedly denied at Quantico.


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