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AIDS Protesters Toss Funeral Urns Over White House Fence

October 14, 1996 GMT

WASHINGTON (AP) _ More than 300 AIDS activists were forced from in front of the White House by police on horseback after protesters threw urns with what they said were human ashes onto the mansion’s lawn.

During the incident Sunday, Steven Hardway of Oklahoma City, a member of the group ACT UP, tossed an urn he said contained the cremated remains of his lover who died of AIDS. U.S. Park Police escorted him from the scene but said they did not arrest him.

ACT UP characterized the demonstration as a political funeral to protest President Clinton’s AIDS policies and to press demands including guaranteed access to anti-AIDS medications, more AIDS research and a federally funded needle exchange program for addicts.


Clinton was campaigning in the West at the time.

White House spokesman had no comment on the demonstration; spokesman Jim Fetig said he was unaware of it.

The group marched to a slow drumbeat from near the Capitol, along the Mall beside the AIDS Quilt bearing 70,000 names of those who died of the disease and on to the White House.

Before mounted police moved in, some protesters placed pictures of dead friends and loved ones on the White House fence as others tossed in the funeral urns and shouted complaints against the administration.

The demonstrators included Jeff Getty, an AIDS patient from Oakland, Calif., who had baboon bone marrow transplanted into his body last December in an experimental treatment.

``One less missile fired at Iraq could help reduce the size of the quilt,″ Getty said. ``We have to fight the president to get these drugs paid for.″

Clinton and his wife, Hillary, viewed the quilt Friday.

ACT UP, which stands for AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, claims chapters throughout the world.