Democracy Spring: More Than 900 Arrested At Protest
Upwards of 900 people attending the “Democracy Spring” in Washington, D.C., have been arrested at the protest, according to a report Sunday by USA Today. The protests are a result of efforts organized by a wide range of groups as part of Democracy Spring, which advocates reforms that would get “big money” out of politics.
“More arrests are expected Monday, the final day of protests when the focus of the non-violent protests turn to voting rights and timely consideration of Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”
— Democracy Spring (@DemSpring) April 17, 2016
The mass Democracy Spring demonstrations began last Monday and have continued despite the growing number of people who have been arrested at the protest. The group is demanding that Congress pass legislation to reform accepted campaign fundraising tactics and to expand the right to vote. According to Huffington Post, the protestors also want to pass an update to the Voting Rights Act.
“Democracy Spring protestors marched from Philadelphia to Washington to engage in a week of civil disobedience actions.”
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) April 14, 2016
The week of protests began last Monday, when more than 400 protestors were arrested on the steps of the Capitol building. 13 more people were arrested at the protest when a group posing as part of a tour group zip-tied themselves to scaffolding in the rotunda. The activists reportedly chanted and sang until police officers arrived to remove them, place them under arrest and charge them with trespassing.
“It’s fitting that on the weekend anniversary of the day that slaves were freed in the District, we are assembling to right another wrong in our democracy; the enslavement of politicians to big money that holds all Americans captive to a corrupt system and demeans our country,” stated Elise Whittaker, a Democracy Now organizer who was arrested in the Capitol dome. “Americans from across the political spectrum will continue to rally around these issues until Congress takes action. What we’re seeing here is a truly historic moment as the American people no matter what their politics are coming together to demand that Congress do its job.”
— NAACP (@NAACP) April 17, 2016
The Democracy Spring protests are also linked to a group known as Democracy Awakening, which has joined recent efforts to get attention from the powers that be. Cornell Brooks, national president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was also in attendance, joining the Democracy Spring protest to lead a march Sunday.
— Change.org (@Change) April 14, 2016
“Here what you have is a very professional, carefully calibrated and wonderfully orchestrated means of dealing with law enforcement in Washington. It’s very different from the way young activists who are black and brown are described.”
Many of those arrested at the protest were reportedly charged with violating a statute in Washington D.C. that prohibits “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.” According to police spokeswoman Eva Malecki, the charges are misdemeanors, and all of those arrested at the protest have been associated with the Democracy Spring movement. Due to a lack of space in area jails, most of those arrested at the protest were processed and subsequently released on site.
“Demonstrators remained orderly and respectful,” Malecki told USA Today
Those arrested in the protest so far have included actress Rosario Dawson and Harvard Law School professor Larry Lessig, who also happens to be a former Democratic presidential candidate.
[Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty Images]