WASHINGTON – Some community members are mourning after a well-known protester, Concepcion Picciotto, died Monday.
Picciotto advocated for peace in front of the White House for more than 30 years. Some people knew her as Connie or Conchita. She was known as the primary guardian for an anti-nuclear and peace vigil tent, located on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Picciotto, who migrated to the U.S. from Spain, began protesting in 1981.
A protester who worked with with her, Neil Cousins, 62, said he plans to continue what Picciotto started.
“I can’t just leave this tent here,” Cousins said.
Picciotto was well known among tourists and Washington natives for protesting for freedom for Palestine and against the Iraqi war and nuclear weapons.
The makeshift tent surrounded by signs was Picciotto’s spot to engage with people protesting something or taking selfies in front of the White House. The National Park Service forbids camping in Lafayette Square, so Picciotto went elsewhere to sleep while other volunteers maintained an overnight vigil. If the tent was left untended, police sometimes confiscated it but returned it when she asked for it.
Some people viewed Picciotto as ill, but Washington native Michael Wille, 29, who works for a catering business in Washington, said he often bought sandwiches for Picciotto, who once lived in an apartment but more recently stayed at a shelter for women. Wille has known Piccotto for eight years and said he will miss her.
“It was always nice to come and talk to her. She was a very peaceful soul. It was always interesting to see her interact with the other protests that come around here. She was always very kind,” Wille said.
Wille said he hopes the community will host a vigil in remembrance of her.
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Download photos: Picciotto.zip