October 25, 2007 in Nation/World

Protester confronts Rice before Mideast hearing

Beth Murtagh Newsday
Associated Press photo

War protester Desiree Ali-Fairooz, her hands painted red, confronts Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – A war protester ambushed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a House hearing Wednesday, thrusting “blood”-stained hands in her face and accusing her of having the “blood of millions of Iraqis on your hands” before being dragged away by police.

“War criminal! War criminal!” bellowed Desiree Ali-Fairooz, 51, a former teacher from Arlington, Texas, after a security guard grabbed her wrists and another officer led her out of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The incident caused chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., to order the removal of several other CodePink members, an all-female anti-war group with a semi-permanent protest presence on Capitol Hill.

Capitol police said Ali-Fairooz was charged with assault on a federal officer and three other counts. Police deflected questions about how she was able to get close enough to Rice to confront her but insisted that the incident did not constitute a security breach.

The incident provided a startling moment at the start of a hearing featuring Rice testifying about the Middle East.

Rice entered the hearing room from a side door with Lantos, an aide and State Department security. Ali-Fairooz strode up the aisle and met Rice at the table with arms outstretched, moving her hands toward Rice’s face but apparently not touching her.

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