At least three AIDS activists were arrested on Tuesday after they and other naked demonstrators briefly took over House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) to protest budget cuts to health care services.
There were seven nude activists total, including three women and four men. Several protesters had the word “AIDS” painted on their bodies, according to reports and photos shared on Twitter.
Activists from ACT UP, New York ACT UP, Philadelphia ACT UP, Housing Works and the Student Global AIDS Campaign stripped down in the lobby of the Speakers office and began chanting the famous ACT UP chant: “ACT UP! FIGHT BACK! FIGHT AIDS!”
Other chants made light of the situation (and Speaker Boehner’s name.)
“Boehner, Boehner, don’t be a dick, budget cuts will make us sick,” they chanted. “The budget cuts are really rude, that’s why we have to be so lewd.”
“The reality is that these draconian budget cuts will actually result in the conservative loss of 600,000 people with AIDS’ lives around the world,” one of the protesters, Jennifer Flynn, told Buzzfeed. ”We’re talking about killing 600,000 people around the world if we let these budget cuts go into effect. And that’s just one year.”
Flynn may have been referring to $538 million in cuts to HIV/AIDS funding that could occur on January 2 unless Congress and the president find alternative options.
TheHill.com points out the protest happened in Boehner’s office in the Longworth House Office Building, not the Speaker’s office where he works in the Capitol. Boehner’s office confirmed that he was not in the office at the time.
World AIDS Day is on Saturday, December 1, 2012.