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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 28 May, 2016

Woman who held 35-year protest outside White House dies

The demonstration is widely considered to be the longest-running act of political protest in the US.

Concepcion Picciotto in 2013.
Concepcion Picciotto in 2013.
Image: Charles Dharapak/AP/Press Association Images

THE WOMAN WHO held a 35-year protest against nuclear weapons outside the White House has died.

Concepcion Picciotto died at the age of 80 on Monday.

The Washington Post reports that she died at a housing facility operated by N Street Village, a non-profit organisation that supports homeless women in Washington DC.

She had recently suffered a fall, but the immediate cause of death is not known.

The Spanish immigrant was the primary guardian of the anti-nuclear vigil stationed along Pennsylvania Avenue. The demonstration is widely considered to be the longest-running act of political protest in the US.

AFP notes that Picciotto was a divisive figure, earning respect for her endurance but derision for embracing sometimes controversial views. There were also persistent questions about her mental health.

VIGIL Craig Thompson sits in the anti-nuclear-proliferation vigil stationed along Pennsylvania Avenue on the edge of Lafayette Square Park across from the White House in Washington. A white sign in front reads 'Concepcion RIP'.

Picciotto and her colleagues were a regular attraction for tourists gathered in front of one of the world’s most famous landmarks.

In a statement, the Peace House organisation said:

Connie may not have been the easiest person to live or work with but the peace vigil was never about Connie and even throughout the biggest struggles we all knew that. That was the reason why we suffered through sub-zero temperatures, hurricanes and dealing with impolite people.

“She manned the White House antinuclear peace vigil the longest. She stayed there through thick and thin and was dedicated to a cause that sometimes seemed to be like an unhealthy relationship.”

- Contains reporting from AFP

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