White House protester dies after 35-year vigil

Concepcion Picciotto, a 80-year-old nuclear disarmament activist, died on Monday


Afp January 26, 2016
Concepcion Picciotto posing with her signs across the street from the White House on March 4, 2009 in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON DC: Concepcion Picciotto, a 80-year-old Spanish-born nuclear disarmament activist who camped in front of the White House for more than three decades, has died, colleagues said on Tuesday.

The diminutive weather-worn protester who manned a placard-festooned tent in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue through Washington's brutal summers and winters since 1981 died on Monday, according to The Peace House, a group she belonged to.

"Connie's health was not well for the past couple of years. Therefore, we hope she finds peace where she may be," the group said in a statement.

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An activist sits at a protest sight in Lafayette Park across from the White House January 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

Picciotto was a divisive figure, earning respect for her endurance but derision for embracing sometimes controversial views.

There were also persistent questions about her mental health.

Picciotto and her colleagues were a regular attraction for tourists gathered in front of one of the world's most famous landmarks.

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An activist sits at a protest sight in Lafayette Park across from the White House January 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

On Tuesday, a fellow protester manned the encampment beside a sign that read "Concepcion R.I.P" as a group of Argentine tourists clad in snow gear snapped photos.

"She manned the White House Anti-Nuclear Peace Vigil the longest," said Peace House.

"She stayed there through thick and thin and was dedicated to a cause that sometimes seemed to be like an unhealthy relationship."

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