Protesters from anti-war group Code Pink stood up during Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday to loudly express opposition to the ongoing aerial campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, repeatedly interrupting senators and panelists and driving Democratic chairman Carl Levin up the wall.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey had just walked into the hearing room when protesters clad in pink and holding anti-war slogans crowded just behind the panel. “No more war!” they chanted, their voices mingling chaotically.
Levin allowed the protesters about a minute to vent before the gavel came down. “The committee will come to order, and we’re asking all in the audience now to either take their seats and be quiet, or please leave,” the Michigan senator said.
After another exchange, one woman was undeterred, alternating between ”no military solution to this” and “no more war!”
“You’re acting very warlike yourself,” Levin said angrily, asking the protester to leave. She was escorted out by Capitol police.
Twenty minutes later and another interruption prompted a frustrated Levin to rap his gavel. “Thank you, would you please leave!” he shouted. “Would you please leave the room now! Look, we’re asking you nicely would you please leave the room!”
“We would ask all of you to avoid these kind of outbursts,” he said following another woman’s departure. “They’re not doing anybody any good, including hearing what this testimony is. And they’re not doing you, and whatever your cause is, any good either.”
But still more outbursts followed, with one woman telling Senator John McCain, ”Senator McCain, you have no authority to speak out on this issue!”
“Will you please be quiet!?” an exasperated Levin said, repeatedly slamming his gavel down. “Please remove the lady from the room.”
“I always appreciate special attention from this group, Mr. Chairman,” McCain quipped.
“I don’t think she voted for you, John,” another senator laughed.