A civil disobedience demonstration as part of a Washington, D.C., protest to urge Congress and the president to do more in the fight against AIDS both at home and aboard resulted in 98 arrests, The Washington Post reports. Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Republican and Democratic committee headquarters and the Capitol, chanting "Fight AIDS now" and "Bush is a jerk, condoms work." The arrests came after some demonstrators lay in the street in front of the Capitol, blocking traffic. They were charged with unlawful assembly and could be fined up to $50 each, according to the U.S. Capitol Police.
Organizers of the protest say the government needs to do more on HIV issues, including allowing the use of generic antiretroviral medications in developing countries, boosting spending on U.S. housing and treatment programs, and increasing comprehensive HIV prevention efforts. They also criticized the Bush administration for its emphasis on abstinence-only sex and HIV prevention education. "We are here in Washington today because our national priorities are screwed up," National Association of People With AIDS executive director Terje Anderson said.