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Posted by Julie Day on January 26, 2016

You’ve probably never heard of the name Concepción Martín Picciotto. She is not a Spanish celebrity as such, yet she is known by practically everyone living and working in the state of Washington in America.

Concepción is not rich and famous, but she has made history.

In fact, she has spent the last 35 years camped outside the White House in protest against the proliferation and rapid growth of the use of nuclear arms, and has not moved from her spot since 1981.

Yesterday, Concepción Martín Picciotto, considered by many as the person to have maintained a public political act of protest for the longest time in the United States, passed away in a refuge for homeless women in Washington D.C.

Although few details are actually known about Concepción, it is thought that she was around 80 years old. She had recently suffered a fall, yet it is not known whether this was linked to her death, or what the cause of death actually was.

The Spanish activist was originally from Vigo in Galicia. In 1960 she emigrated to New York and found a job as a receptionist in the commercial office of the Spanish Embassy.

Later, she met and married an Italian immigrant, and together they adopted a baby girl. However, Concepción became convinced that her husband wanted to separate her from her daughter, so she went to Washington for the first time in 1979 in search of help in recuperating her child. Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful.

However, this was when she met William Thomas, a nuclear arms activist who was camping out in a tent in Pennsylvania Avenue, right opposite the presidential palace, and decided to join him.

From that point onwards, Concepción did not abandon that spot and stayed there for more than three decades. Thomas passed away in 2009, but she just carried on going.

Everyone knew her there and she has been photographed with millions of tourists over the years who came to visit the White House.

She had signs in every language condemning the use of nuclear weapons and campaigning for peace. She even had one that announced that she was just off to “go to the bathroom” but would be back shortly.



  • The White House
  • nuclear arms
  • Concepción Martín Picciotto


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