Two CodePink protesters were removed from the National Rifle Association press conference Friday after holding up signs and shouting that the NRA was "killing our kids." The anti-war activists slipped in to the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington despite tight security and credentials for media members.
CodePink member Joan Stallard tells Whispers that the group's founder, prominent peace activist Medea Benjamin, and fellow CodePink member Tighe Barry went to the press conference "in order to do exactly what they did."
"The NRA is there with a stack of propaganda statements, so we are there to speak for the millions of people who dissent from their opinion," she says.
The press conference was the first public appearance by the gun rights organization since the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children dead one week ago.
Several minutes after NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre began speaking, Barry stood up with a giant pink sign that read "NRA is killing our children!" and yelled: "The violence begins with the NRA!" LaPierre shook his head and waited until Barry was forcibly removed from the press conference.
Later, as LaPierre spoke of what he sees as the negative influence of violent video games on society, Benjamin stood up and shouted: "The NRA has blood on its hands!" and "Ban assault weapons now!" before she was also removed. CodePink, a protest group that has long been a fixture at anti-war protests, visited Democratic Nevada Senator Harry Reid's D.C. office Tuesday demanding to know whether the pro-gun rights senator now supports a ban on assault weapons.
Politico reported Monday that the Democratic senator might be open to new measures to control deadly weapons.