Hundreds of children sick with cancer along with their parents were forced by President Barack Obama’s Secret Service to leave a park near the White House Saturday night after the group had planned a candlelight vigil.
The event was part of CureFest for Childhood Cancer, a two-day event to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer cures. The group of nearly 700 attendees received all the permits they needed to hold “A night of Golden Candles” in Lafayette Park, but were still forced to leave, The Washington Post reports.
The Secret Service said the park was closed down as a security precaution.
The children and their parents waited for several hours for the park to open back up, but it never did, and some of the cancer stricken children needed to receive medication and return to their hotel rooms after becoming fatigued by the wait.
“I cried last night in my hotel room because it was my first CureFest, and I couldn’t believe people were acting like they don’t care about children,” Natasha Gould, one of the children told the Post.
Security agents wouldn’t even let people back in to get the chairs and blankets they left when forced to leave earlier in the night.
According to the group, they only held the candlelight vigil because the White House refused to light up its outside in gold, to symbolize solidarity with cancer stricken children.
In June, the White House lit up with rainbow lights after the Supreme Court ruling to legalize gay marriage.
The group had permits to set up in the park from 7 to 9. Many had already left, but some stayed until around 10:30 to see if they might be let back in. The group never got to re-enter the park and eventually they all gave up.