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White House protester Concepción Picciotto dies after 35-year vigil

January 26, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Concepción Picciotto, a 80-year-old Spanish-born nuclear disarmament activist who camped in front of the White House for more than three decades, has died, colleagues said Tuesday.

The diminutive weather-worn protester who manned a placard-festooned tent in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue through Washington’s brutal summers and winters since 1981 died Monday, according to The Peace House, a group to which she belonged.

“Connie’s health was not well for the past couple of years. Therefore, we hope she finds peace where she may be,” the group said in a statement.

Concepción 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.

Concepción Picciotto
Born in 1945, Concepción Picciotto, also known as "Conchita" or "Connie," is seen at her daily protest in front of the White House. She died on Monday at the age of 80. Paul J. Richards/AFP

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

On Tuesday, a fellow protester manned the encampment beside a sign that read “Concepcion R.I.P” as a group of Argentine tourists clad in snow gear snapped photos.

“She manned the White House Anti-Nuclear Peace Vigil the longest,” said Peace House. “She stayed there through thick and thin and was dedicated to a cause that sometimes seemed to be like an unhealthy relationship.”

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