Alaska protesters interrupt campaign event with animal heart

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Protesters in Alaska carrying a banner and a caribou heart interrupted a campaign event for a United States (US) senator seeking reelection.

The small group of protesters were restrained and escorted out by staff and attendees at Republican Senator Dan Sullivan’s campaign launch event in a hangar near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport last Saturday, The Anchorage Daily News reported.

Kathleen Bonnar said she approached Sullivan while carrying the caribou heart to the stage in a handbag. She was accompanied by another woman, later identified as Crystal Berwick.

A video posted online showed Sullivan’s campaign manager, Matt Shuckerow, restraining Bonnar. The animal heart slipped from her hands onto the floor, leaving blood on Shuckerow and the stage.

At least two other women carrying a banner reading “Heartless Sullivan” attempted to rush the stage during the confrontation but were also pulled outside.

Bonnar said the heart fell from her hands when her arms were grabbed, which is why there may have been the misperception she intended to throw it.

“I think things just got really blown way out of proportion. None of us had any intention to be violent at all. We didn’t even expect the response we received at all,” Bonnar said.

Shuckerow said he attempted to stop Bonnar because he was not sure what the object was as she attempted to remove the heart from her bag. The action was “not a safe protest, it was not peaceful, it was in fact violent on the part of the protesters,” Shuckerow said.