WASHINGTON (CNN) — Two anti-war protesters — one of them an 83-year-old woman — were arrested Saturday outside the home of former Vice President Dick Cheney in suburban Washington, police said.
The two were part of about 20 activists affiliated with the anti-war groups Code Pink and Witness Against Torture, demonstrating Saturday morning at various locations on a “torturers tour.”
The protesters were inside Cheney’s fenced property in McLean, Virginia, when police arrived, “and the homeowners said they were not allowed to be there,” said Fairfax County police spokesman Roger Henriquez. He did not know whether Cheney was home at the time.
“Police asked them to leave or face trespassing charges,” Henriquez said. “Two refused to leave the premises.”
Tighe Barry, 57, and Eve Tetaz, 83, were arrested, according to Code Pink and Henriquez. They were processed within an hour, and released pending a court date.
Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin disputed the police account, telling CNN, “The police asked us to move to the street, so we did. And they arbitrarily arrested two of us.”
The group’s national coordinator, Ali McCracken, said protesters met earlier in the morning outside the home of CIA Director John Brennan, who also lives in McLean. She said police “encircled” Brennan’s house, but made no arrests. They then went to the CIA headquarters nearby and protested there before then heading to Cheney’s house, all part of what McCracken called a “torturers tour.”
McCracken said the group is calling for closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the prison’s opening.
“It’s ironic and ridiculous that while the men responsible for torture are out running free and profiting from years of failed wars — Dick Cheney has profited grossly off the Iraq War — police were out arresting peaceful protesters who are calling for a new foreign policy based on diplomacy and compassion, ” McCracken said.
An exhaustive report released last month by the Senate Intelligence Committee found the CIA tortured suspected terrorists in a brutal and mismanaged program that produced little valuable intelligence. The George W. Bush administration deployed the tactics after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Cheney called the report “deeply flawed,” a “terrible piece of work” and “full of crap.” He stood by his support of the extreme interrogation techniques used by the CIA on detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks saying, “I would do it again in a minute.”