AIDS Activists Silence US Health Secretary Thompson in Barcelona

July 9, 2002

An afternoon plenary featuring Tommy Thompson turned into a visible display of the United State's inaction on global AIDS. As Thompson prepared to speak, approximately 30 AIDS activits marched down the aisles chanting "Shame! Shame!" using whistles and signs as props. Many other audience members joined in the whistling and the chanting.The activists predominately from ACT UP marched on stage and formed a line across blocking view of Tommy Thompson. Mark Milano of ACT UP NY used a bullhorn to scream his demands on the United States. A call for the US to join with activists and the WHO to put 3 million people on treatment by 2005, to stop preventing other countries from trying to produce generics, domestic issues including ADAP and abstinence only until marriage programs. Many people in the audience joined in solidarity, standing up and shouting and chanting along with ACT UP. Africans and Latin Americans joined in solidarity with American activists calling out Thompson's murderous policies. Chants included, "Where's the 10 billion?", "Clean Needles Now!", "Money for AIDS, not for war!", "Fund the global Fund!"

A group of Latin Americans chanted "Viva ACT UP" throughout the program.

After listing the demands, ACT UP protestors marched down the aisles to leave the auditorium. As Thompson resumed his speech, remaining audience members booed and whistled resulting in ACT UP members returning chanting "NO more lies!" Thompson continued to give his speech although could not be heard. Thompson was silenced.

The media loved it all, there were at least 8 film cameras and 20 still cameras.

The entire action lasted about a half an hour. As Thompson left, three rows of HHS members stood to clap but could not be heard amidst the audience booing and whistles. The audience clapped in support as ACT UP left the room.

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