A 35-year protest ends after Spanish woman dies

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“Conchita” Martin Picciotto.

A WOMAN alleged to have held the longest protest vigil in US history, died in a homeless shelter in Washington DC on January 25.  

Spanish-born Concepcion Martin Picciotto, believed to be in her 80s, camped in a tent outside the White House for 35 years and became a tourist attraction for visitors to Capitol Hill. 

Born in Santiago de Compostela, Concepcion was the daughter of a doctor, and spent her early years in Vigo, before marrying an American businessman and immigrating to the United States, where she worked for the Spanish Commercial Office in New York and later had a baby girl.  

Known as “Connie” or “Conchita,” the dedicated campaigner made headline news when she set up camp outside the presidential residence in 1981, after losing custody of her daughter to her husband, who had vetoed her plans to raise the girl in Spain and begun “a harassment campaign” against her. 

Her frustration with the US court system led to her adopting other causes, including that of nuclear proliferation, a cause which she fiercely defended until her death, placing ´ban the bomb´ signs and other placards around her camp. 

Concepcion is reported to have lived off donations from passers-by and by selling hand-painted “peace rocks.”

During presidential inaugurations she was often forced to move her camp temporarily, but when White House fence-jumper, Omar Gonzalez penetrated the inner sanctum in 2014, sources claim that the Department of Homeland Security considered moving Concepcion on, but eventually decided not to. 

Ms Martin died at the N Street Village homeless shelter for women. 

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