Police were called to remove people who were protesting the war in Iraq by holding a sit-in Monday at U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s office in downtown Des Moines. Grassley was flying from Iowa back to Washington, D.C. at the time, after holding 17 town meetings across Iowa during the past week while Congress was on break.
Grassley says “There isn’t a town meeting I had that we didn’t have a non-emotional discussion of Iraq including people that were there from this group and for some reason or other, they saw it necessary to repeat the effort by coming to my office.” The seven protesters were reportedly members of a group taking part in what’s called the Occupation Project, which advocates non-violent demonstrations.
Grassley says they planned to remain in his office until he consented to vote against President Bush’s request for supplemental funding for American troops in Iraq. He says “They were planning on just sitting in until I agreed to something.” Grassley says his Des Moines office isn’t set up for such a thing.
Grassley says they do case-work in that office, handling “personal problems that people have with the bureaucracy, protected by the privacy act. It’s to serve other constituents. It’s to handle their personal problems and they need privacy. You don’t want a bunch of people, regardless of how well-meaning they are, standing around protesting.”
The protesters were given citations ranging from trespassing to obstruction. A similar incident was reported in Cedar Rapids on Monday that resulted in 11 arrests.