Eight congressmen were arrested while attending an immigration rally on the National Mall. The congressmen were part of 200 demonstrators who were arrested for obstructing a roadway.
Although the National Mall was closed in the government shutdown, the Camino Americano: March for Dignity was cleared to proceed as planned. The rally was an attempt to raise awareness for immigration reform.
As reported by NBC News, the event included performances by several Latino artists. Numerous speakers were also booked to appear, including members of Congress.
As the day progressed, around 200 protestors broke away from the main crowd. As they filled the street, they eventually blocking travel along 1st Street NW. Capitol Police responded to the area and asked the protestors to allow traffic to pass. They refused to move.
Close to 200 protesters, including eight congressmen, were arrested for civil disobedience. As reported by National Journal, the protestors were placed in zip-tie handcuffs and led away from the scene.
Each protestor will be fined $50. The congressmen will likely be investigated by the Ethics Committee for their participation and arrests.
The arrested congressmen include Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), Rep. Raul Grivjalva (D-Ariz.), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
The rally was organized in support of immigration reform. House Democrats have proposed removing a portion of the bill that includes a controversial border control measure. The bill, in its current form, was approved by the Senate in June.
The government’s decision to allow the rally during the shutdown was met with stark criticism. Just last week, World War II Veterans were denied access to a memorial. The memorial is located on the National Mall.
The veterans were informed that all 401 National Parks are closed due to the shutdown. Unwilling to accept the closure, numerous veterans responded by breaching the barricade.
Despite closure of the National Mall, the rally was allowed to proceed. The discrepancy led to a heated debate.
The congressmen arrested at the rally have not commented about the incident.
[Image via Flickr]