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AIDS activists arrested outside Bush-Cheney headquarters (14110)

14110Health News2004-10-20

AIDS activists arrested outside Bush-Cheney headquarters

Police arrested 21 AIDS activists protesting outside the Bush-Cheney national headquarters in Arlington, Va., on Monday, The Washington Post reports. The activists had chained themselves to the front door and to each other inside the building to protest the Bush administration's domestic and international AIDS policies. About 120 activists took part in the demonstration, which was organized by ACT UP and the New York City group Housing Works. The arrested protestors were charged with trespassing.

Several of the protestors carried signs that included a picture of Vice President Dick Cheney and a statement he made earlier this month during the vice presidential debate that he was unaware that AIDS is disproportionately affecting African-American women. Both Cheney and Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards failed to respond to a question about the domestic AIDS epidemic and instead talked about the international impact of the disease.

"We cannot remain silent while Bush-Cheney continues to ignore the greatest global threat known to humankind," Kaytee Riek of ACT UP said in a press statement of the reasons for the protest. "Bush-Cheney has a history of failed programs in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. They have failed to live up to funding commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, they have failed to provide adequate funding for domestic HIV/AIDS programs, and they have failed to fully support debt cancellation for the world's poorest countries. They've had a total compassion failure on HIV/AIDS--they talk a lot, but they don't get the job done."

A spokeswoman for the Bush-Cheney campaign claimed that the president is committed to fighting AIDS at home and abroad and noted that the Administration is spending $15 billion over five years to fight AIDS in developing nations through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. She also said Bush has increased funding for domestic HIV research, treatment, and prevention by 27%.

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