Lt. Dan Choi Arrested at White House ProtestLt. Choi

Lt. Dan Choi, an openly gay Iraq war veteran who has been an outspoken opponent of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and former Army infantryman Jim Pietrangelo were arrested Thursday, March 18, after chaining themselves to a fence at the White House.

Pietrangelo has been discharged from the military under DADT, and Choi has a case pending regarding his discharge. According to the Advocate, Choi and Pietrangelo had earlier in the day attended a rally held by the Human Rights Campaign calling for the end to DADT, where Choi was a speaker.

Choi told rally attendees “You've been told that the White House has a plan. But we learned this week that the president is still not fully committed. ... Following this rally, I will be leading (a protest) to the White House to say 'enough talk.'"

He and Pietrangelo then led a group of about 100 protestors to the White House, where the two chained themselves to a fence. Fresno activist Robin McGehee was also arrested, allegedly for helping Choi and Pietrangelo chain themselves to the fence.

After Choi and Pietrangelo left the Rally, HRC President Joe Solmonese continued the rally and HRC later released a statement regarding Choi’s and Pietrangelo’s arrest.

“Today more than 1,000 people showed up at a rally — 500 of which signed up to become more involved in the fight to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ Joe Solmonese along with [gay Iraq war veteran] Eric Alva and others felt it was important to stay and engage those at the rally in ways that can continue building the pressure needed for repeal. This does nothing to diminish the actions taken by Lt. Choi and others. This is the nature of social change and everyone has a role to play.”

Choi and Pietrangelo had their handcuffs unceremoniously unlocked by park police and were taken away, and according to park police, will be charged with failure to follow a lawful order.Choi Demonstration

As word of the arrests spread across the country, impromptu rallies calling for Choi's and Pietrangelo's release were called in many cities. Here in Sacramento a small number of people demonstrated at the corner of 10th and L Streets in front of the State Capitol, calling for the release of their heroes.

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