- (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Erns)
Boehner protesters made their dissatisfaction and disappointment known in a rather unusual manner: they were all nude except for body paint expressing their attitudes. At least seven people stormed Speaker of the House John Boehner's office yesterday as part of a planned protest.
The group invaded the office to protest possible cuts to HIV/AIDS funding that could be a direct result of the upcoming negotiations between President Obama and Congress. Those participating in the protest wore body paint stating: "AIDS CUTS KILL" and other phrases.
Members of VOCAL (Voices of Community Activists & Leaders) New York also participated in yesterday's events but did not strip and put on body paint. They merely stood watch in the hallway outside Boehner's office. The seven nudists were part of the nationally known ACT Up organization, which often goes to extremes to get its message across.
ACT Up stands for the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power and is an international group dedicated to impact the lives of those with AIDS and HIV.
"We are here today to tell the naked truth about these budget cuts," Jennifer Flynn, one of the protesters, told ACT Up after the protest.
"The truth is that people with AIDS have been stripped naked for years – Medicaid has been cut, states are [struggling]. There are waiting lists in this country where people with AIDS are dying," Flynn added.
The protesters said they were "fighting over $1.2 billion in cuts to HIV/AIDS funding under sequestration," according to Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo. Kapur had an eyewitness view of the ordeal and tweeted about it as it happened.
Police responded to the Speaker's office and warned the naked protesters that they would be arrested for indecent exposure if they did not get dressed and leave peacefully. To make a unique situation even more so, the three female protesters were arrested for "lewd and indecent acts in the Speaker's Longworth office," Shennell Antrobus confirmed. Yet, there was no word about what happened to the male protesters.