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Activists Arrested After Confronting Sanders’ Office with the Senator’s Words

An Elderly Protester is escorted out by Capitol Police outside of Senator Bernie Sanders’ office after demanding peace talks in Ukraine, October 4, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaUS Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) once said during a 2020 Democratic primary debate that the “two great foreign policy disasters of our lifetimes” occurred with the Vietnam and Iraq wars as both were “based on lies.” At the time, he also noted he feared the then-sitting president would “drag us into a war that is even worse than the war in Iraq.”Eleven protesters were arrested during a sit-in at US Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office on Wednesday after they demanded that the senator issue calls for peace and diplomacy in Ukraine.Among those arrested was an 89-year-old woman.The group, organized by Code Pink, was joined by the Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Cornel West, who campaigned with Sanders during his 2016 and 2020 bids for US president. West did not participate in the sit-in but did join the peace advocates in the Senate lobby for a prayer vigil.Both the vigil and sit-in were part of a week of action organized by the group that included an anti-war rally on Tuesday, where West gave a speech along with the Party for Socialism and Liberation Presidential candidate Claudia De la Cruz and activist and comedian Lee Camp.© Code PinkDr. Cornel West speaks to Code Pink peace advocates during a prayer vigil in the Senate lobby, October 4, 2023Dr. Cornel West speaks to Code Pink peace advocates during a prayer vigil in the Senate lobby, October 4, 2023Sanders was once one of the most vocal critics of US foreign policy, having spoken out against wars in Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. But since his 2020 campaign flamed out, he has been a consistent supporter of US President Joe Biden and the continuous flow of US weapons and money into Ukraine.“We just had 11 people arrested in [Senator] Bernie Sanders’ office, because Bernie Sanders was supposed to be a champion for peace. He helped us out in Yemen,” Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin told a Sputnik reporter. “Then why is he saying it’s okay to spend $114 billion and this other $24 billion that now the administration is asking for to keep an unwinnable war that is going to lead us into World War Three, or a nuclear holocaust?”Benjamin said in Code Pink’s news release that she is “appalled that NO Democrats are saying what the American people are saying: We need peace talks, not more war. This is NOT a MAGA issue or a Republican issue but an issue of human survival.”The group, which numbered in the several dozens, also demanded meetings with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), among other figures.Omar was one of 30 progressive lawmakers who signed a letter in October of last year, requesting the Biden administration start a “proactive diplomatic push” to create a “realistic framework for a ceasefire,” without condemning the transfer of weapons to Ukraine. However, that letter was withdrawn less than 24 hours after it was issued.AmericasHouse Republicans Fed Up With Biden’s Ukraine Aid Requests18 September, 16:10 GMTA representative for Omar reportedly spoke to the advocates and no one was arrested outside of her offices. There have been no reports on what happened when the advocates approached Warren’s office.Sanders has not yet commented on the protest.One protester who was arrested carried a sign that included a quote from Sanders shortly before the Ukraine conflict broke out.“We must work hard to achieve a realistic and mutually agreeable resolution – one that is acceptable to Ukraine, Russia, the United States and our European allies. So let’s sit down. Let’s negotiate. And let’s come up with a diplomatic solution,” the sign read, quoting Sanders.Russia has repeatedly condemned the transfer of weapons and aid to Ukraine by its Western benefactors, saying that doing so will only escalate the conflict.

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