Declaraton by Rudy Stolfer, vigiler

Sunday, January 10, 1999

Lafayette Park Peace Vigil was temporarily interrupted today, as the authorities vacated the area for some unknown reason. As I don't wear a watch, it would be hard to say precisely what time, but about mid-afternoon 3-4 pm, everyone was told to move to the far (north) end of the park. As tourist were being escorted across the street and past the signs, an officer[name unknown] asked me to leave the vigil site and move to the north end of the park. No reason was given and as I ask I was told again to move to the far side of the park. After grabbing my coat and backpack, I was told everything would be safe as the whole area was being secured. So I grabbed some flyers and proceeded to move to the Andrew Jackson statue in the center. There the officers established a perimeter sealing the park all the way to Madison Place and Pennsylvania Ave.

No reason was given, but security was fairly heavy for a cold day with not a lot of people around. Several security were visible on the White House roof, also the security curtain is up across the street for the visiting head-of-state. After about 15-30 minutes people were allowed back into the park and things returned to normal.

This action prohibited the normal operation of the vigil for no reason. This was the third time since arriving in September 98 that this has happened during my watch. These actions are always for security purposes with no justification necessary. It seems rather unfair to have to maintain a 3ft perimeter at all times at the vigil (making bathroom breaks impossible) with such arbitrary enforcement of the rules. These very activities are the exact reason the vigil is necessary. Fear, ruling our sidewalks and parks should not at any time be perpetrated by someone wearing a uniform.

is anybody out there??