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Decades-Long Peace Vigil At White House Is Interrupted

Concepcion Picciotto, also known as Conchita or Connie, is seen at her daily protest in front of the White House on March 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. Picciotto has lived in the small camp on Lafayette Square directly opposite the presidential mansion since August 1, 1981 in protest of nuclear arms. (AFP/Getty Images)

If you've ever made the trip to Washington, D.C., you've likely visited the White House and in the small park in front of it, you've likely noticed an aging protester at the helm of an encampment.

She is Concepcion "Connie" Picciotto, 77, and she has kept a peace vigil in front of the presidential residence since the 1980s.

The Washington Post reports that overnight, U.S. Park Police found an opportune moment, stepped in and removed the landmark vigil.

The Post explains:

"On Thursday morning, there was no sign of the hand-lettered anti-nuclear signs and the white shelter that have been a defining feature of Lafayete Square for decades. Picciotto and her fellow protesters said that the U.S. Park Police dismantled the vigil overnight after an activist who was supposed to be manning a shift at the site walked away.

"Park Police spokesman Paul Brooks confirmed that the vigil was taken down by police in the early morning hours after it was observed to be unattended."

Park Police told the paper that around-the-clock vigils require no permit "but must be continuously occupied."

On its Facebook page, The Peace House said Park Police moved in at around 1:45 a.m. ET.

"The Peace Vigil has been in front of the White House for 32 years," the statement said. "As Congress, Senate, and the President talk about an [impending] war with Syria, as US drones kill civilians every day, as violent conflict goes on all over the world, I feel the Peace Vigil is as important as ever."

As you can imagine, it didn't take long before the Picciotto and other activists found a volunteer with a truck to claim the signs from a police depot and bring them back to Lafayete Square.

NBC News' Andrew Rafferty tweeted pictures of Picciotto back at the park. He reports:

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