Naked Ambition in Speaker’s Office: AIDS Activists Strip on Hill

Photograph by Susan Walsh/AP Photo

Naked AIDS activists, with painted slogans on their bodies, protest inside the lobby of the Capitol Hill office of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, on Nov. 27, 2012, prior to World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

With naked protesters and Capitol Police arrests — fiscal indecision aside — it’s been an exciting afternoon on Capitol Hill.

Seven AIDS activists stripped naked in House Speaker John Boehner’s office in the Longworth House Office Building today, chanting “Boehner, Boehner, don’t be a d—, budget cuts will make us sick” and “The budget cuts are really rude, that’s why we have to be so lewd,” according to multiple news reports.

The protesters hoped to expose the “naked truth” about cuts to HIV/AIDS program funding that could result from a fiscal cliff deal, according to the Associated Press. The naked protesters  had “AIDS cuts kill” written on their bodies in paint and glitter and were joined by dozens of clothed demonstrators.

Talking Point Memo’s Sahil Kapur, who live-tweeted the ruckus, reported the protest lasted for over 10 minutes before Capitol Police arrested three female activists for indecent exposure after they’d put their clothes back on. The four naked male protesters reportedly left and were not arrested.

“People with AIDS are sick and tired of being pushed over the cliff,” Jennifer Flynn, one of the arrested protesters, told the AP.  “We need to make sure they stop going after people with AIDS.”

Clothed protesters held a banner for activist group VOCAL New York, photos show. One of the protesters’ chants — “People with AIDS are under attack. What do we do? Act up, fight back, fight AIDS” — was typical of the organization ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, according to The Hill.

Activist groups in Washington for Saturday’s World AIDS Day planned the protest, according to the AP.

Boehner must be glad he wasn’t in Longworth at the time.

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