In 1988, more than a thousand of CISPES activists participated in a mass civil disobedience action, surrounding the Pentagon and effectively shutting down it’s operations for part of the day. 240 people were arrested and charged with obstructing a passageway after blockading the south entrances to the building, sitting in front of moving cars and buses, and creating a sea of bodies at the building’s doorsteps.
Said peace activist Daniel Ellsberg: “We are telling the administration and the people in this building that they can’t do what they’re doing to America without arresting America. This is different than Vietnam. We’re acting before American combat troops are sent . . . . For every person willing to get arrested now, a hundred or thousand are willing to get arrested if they escalate this war.”
The demonstration was part of CISPES’s campaign called “El Salvador: Steps to Freedom,” which sought an end to U.S. military aid, including advisers, to the government of El Salvador. Protesters planted wooden crosses around the Heliport Entrance, symbolizing the thousands killed by U.S.-funded death squads in El Salvador