Debate Magazine

Cancer Vigil Interrupted, Participants Ejected from Park Near White House

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Maybe they all should have brought clocks that they “built“.


Fox News: Authorities ordered hundreds of cancer-stricken children and their supporters to leave a park by the White House this weekend, citing security concerns as the president was scheduled to head to a speaking engagement.

The Washington Post reports that the Secret Service ordered Lafayette Square cleared Saturday night as a vigil was about to begin during the two-day CureFest for Childhood Cancer.

U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose says the Secret Service announced the security closure for presidential movement at 7:15 p.m. President Barack Obama spoke later that night at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual awards dinner Saturday night.

In a statement, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary says that the closures were part of standard protocols near the White House, but that the agency regrets not communicating the timeline more effectively to those involved in CureFest.

Event organizers say the closure dragged on for at least two hours and some sick children had to return to hotel rooms.

From the Washington Post:

“We ended up waiting at the gates for two hours, and they never let us in,” said Natasha Gould, an 11-year-old from Canada who started a blog after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor this year. “And to be clear, the entire crowd was half kids. I cried last night in my hotel room because it was my first CureFest, and I couldn’t believe people were acting like they don’t care about children.”

Organizers, aligned with the Truth 365 grass-roots child-cancer advocacy program, had obtained a permit to hold “A Night of Golden Lights,” in which participants would light electric candles.

But as the closure continued on, some of the sick children, fatigued by the wait or the need to receive medication, had to return to their hotel rooms, organizers said. Others began crying, and some parents became enraged. Attendees said the group of at least 700 people was not allowed access to personal items they left behind, such as chairs and blankets.


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