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Gail Walker arrested after trying to meet Senator Bob Menendez

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Washington, Jun 22 (Prensa Latina) Several activists with the National Network on Cuba, CODEPINK, and IFCO/Pastors for Peace were arrested on Thursday after trying to have a meeting with New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez in his office in Washington, DC. Activists were attempting to meet with Menendez to urge him to lift the US blockade against Cuba and take Cuba off the US’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list.

In a video uploaded to her Facebook account, Gail Walker –longtime Cuba solidarity activist and executive director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace Movement- is seen being led away in handcuffs by a police officer, while she explained that she only intended to speak with the senator at his office and call for the end to Cuba’s inclusion on the list of states sponsoring terrorism, as well as the normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba.

“We should be able to talk about Cuba with our representatives without being arrested,” Gail Walker says in the video, where she also explained they requested several times to meet with Menendez, but never received a response.

“We are in defense of our Cuban family because we believe this policy is unjust,” she added.

“I think it’s funny that we are always told Cuba’s a repressive dictatorship, a police state, when we are getting arrested just for trying to have a conversation,” Walsh said as she was being escorted by police officers onto an elevator.

According to Walker, once activists arrived at Menendez’s office, he was out but they were told by a staffer that he would be coming back. They were later told by the chief of staff that they needed to leave and that they would be arrested. “We wanted to talk to Menendez about his policy toward Cuba, his policy of keeping Cuba unjustly on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list,” she said as she was hustled through hallways and into the elevator beside Menendez’s office.

The NNOC, IFCO, and CODEPINK are mobilizing a march, alongside other solidarity and anti-war organizations, in Washington DC this Sunday June 25 to take Cuba off of the US State Sponsors of Terrorism list, an extreme designation which Menendez supports.

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