Upon hearing Dick Cheney’s remarks about corporate responsibility halfway through his hour-long speech to 500 guests of San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, five members of the activist group Global Exchange stood up, stripped an outer layer of business attire and revealed anti-Cheney T-shirts.
“Cheney is a corporate crook,’’ four women and one man chanted before they were escorted out of the Fairmont Hotel’s grand ballroom. Cheney was the head of the Halliburton corporation when it adopted accounting practices that are currently being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
San Francisco police say the five activists are being detained at the Central Police Station, but whether they will be cited for the disruption is yet to be decided.
About 700 more protesters gathered outside the Fairmont Hotel Wednesday to voice concerns about national security policies and the vice president’s relationship with big business. A small contingency of Cheney supporters were shadowed by the seemingly peaceful group. Police say no arrests were made.
This is the third time Cheney has spoken to the Commonwealth Club. The last time was in 1991 when he served as Secretary of Defense under President George Bush Sr.
President George W. Bush addressed the Commonwealth Club in San Jose in April.
After leaving San Francisco, Cheney headed to Fresno to speak at a fund-raising luncheon for congressional candidate Dick Montieth. He returned to the Bay Area for a private GOP fund-raiser in Burlingame Wednesday night. Burlingame police provided extra security for the vice president’s visit.
Bill Simon’s staff say he will also be at the Republican event. The California gubernatorial candidate, who spoke in Oakland Wednesday, is also been under scrutiny lately for his own corporate ties.