Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

300+ Arrested in Mass Civil Disobedience Protests at the Nation's Capitol

Climate

In the final day of a record-setting week of civil disobedience at the Capitol, more than 300 people were arrested Monday as they demanded democracy reforms.

Yesterday's arrests came on the third and final day of Democracy Awakening. Combined with arrests made during the recent Democracy Spring, the protests constituted what organizers believe is a record for civil disobedience over democracy issues during this century.

The message: On voting rights, money in politics and the recent vacancy on U.S. Supreme Court, Congress is failing to do its job and ignoring the will of the people. Democracy Awakening isn’t the end of something, but the beginning of a new phase in the movement for democracy, organizers said.

Those who planned to risk arrest included NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks; the Rev. William Barber II, pastor and Moral Monday architect; radio commentator Jim Hightower; Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben and Jerry’s; Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard; and Sierra Club President Aaron Mair.

Here's what they had to say about why they risked arrest at our nation's Capitol:

“I’m willing to risk arrest, arm in arm with partners from the civil rights and the labor movements, in order to help fix our democracy," Leonard said. "We will never get the kind of political progress needed to challenge climate change and systemic racism if corporate cash continues to mean more to politicians than the voices of the people.”

“Democracy is supposed to be for all of us, but right now we have an out-of-balance system favoring the interests of big money," Cohen said. "This can’t go on. I’m prepared to risk arrest to send a message that democracy should truly be of, by, and for the people.”

“At a certain point, you have to say enough is enough," Greenfield said. "I have decided to risk arrest because we can’t continue to have a political system where ordinary people are shut out of the process. It’s not what our founders envisioned, and it’s not what democracy is supposed to be about.”

“We cannot sit by and watch obstructionists push an agenda of inequity, injustice and inaction—and I'm willing to risk being arrested in order to make my voice heard in in the fight to ensure that every voice can be heard in our democracy," Mair said. "All too often, the costs of these assaults on our democracy fall on low-income communities and communities of color that already face disproportionate effects from pollution and the climate crisis. A zip code should never dictate the destiny of any American citizen."

Thousands of activists from around the country streamed into the nation’s capital April 16-18 for Democracy Awakening, which featured teach-ins, a rally, a march and lobbying as well as the civil disobedience. The aim: to fight back against business as usual in Washington, DC.

More than 300 organizations endorsed Democracy Awakening. Democracy Awakening is part of a broad movement aimed at advancing democracy reforms. The mobilization began April 2, with Democracy Spring, an event that featured a march from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., followed by six days of sit-ins at the Capitol.

Others who planned to risk arrest included top leaders of the AFL-CIO, All Souls Unitarian Church, the American Federation of Government Employees, the American Postal Workers Union, Campaign for America’s Future, Democracy Initiative, Center for Popular Democracy, Communications Workers of America, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Every Voice, Food & Water Watch,  Franciscan Action Network, Free Speech for People, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Jobs With Justice, the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church; the NAACP, Oil Change International, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, the United Church of Christ, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, We Are Casa, the Yes Men and 350.org.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Bill Nye vs. Sarah Palin on Climate Change: Who Do You Believe?

March 2016 Was Hottest on Record by Greatest Margin Yet Seen for Any Month

40 Students Arrested Demanding Their Schools Divest From Fossil Fuels

Al Gore and Neil deGrasse Tyson Talk the Future of Our Planet

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A baby humpback whale tail slaps in the Pacific Ocean in front of the West Maui Mountains. share your experiences / Moment / Getty Images

The depths of the oceans are heating up more slowly than the surface and the air, but that will undergo a dramatic shift in the second half of the century, according to a new study. Researchers expect the rate of climate change in the deep parts of the oceans could accelerate to seven times their current rate after 2050, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Opinions vary among healthcare providers and the conditions of their patients, as well as the infection rate in their communities and availability of personal protective equipment. Aekkarak Thongjiew / EyeEm Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

Should you skip your annual checkup? The answer would have been a resounding "no" if you asked most doctors before the pandemic.

But with the risk of COVID-19, the answer isn't so clear anymore.

Read More Show Less
People wait in a queue at a snack bar at Island H2O Live! water park in Kissimmee, Florida on May 23 as the attraction reopens for Memorial Day weekend after closing for the coronavirus pandemic. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Viral images of thousands of people eschewing the recommendations of medical experts and epidemiologists were on full display in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend. In Missouri, St. Louis County officials called the images of crowds gathered at pool parties at bars and yacht clubs in the Lake of the Ozarks an "international example of bad judgment," according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
Only the paper part of a drink carton would be recycled everything else, including the plastic coating or layer or aluminum foil, would be incinerated as residual waste. tavan amonratanasareegul / Getty Images

By Jeannette Cwienk

When it comes to recycling and recyclability, very little, it seems is straightforward — even something as seemingly simple as orange juice can present a conundrum. In Germany, many smaller shops sell drinks in cartons or plastic bottles, both of which will end up in the yellow recycling bin. But how do their recycling credentials stack up?

Read More Show Less
A field of organic lettuce grows at a sustainable farm in California. thinkreaction / Getty Images

By Stephanie Hiller

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the future of the Cannard Family Farm—whose organic vegetables supplied a single Berkeley restaurant—was looking stark.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 200 Canadian organizations rolled out their demands for a "just recovery." DKosig / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Nearly 200 Canadian organizations on Monday rolled out their demands for a "just recovery," saying that continuing business-as-usual after the pandemic would prevent the kind of far-reaching transformation needed to put "the health and well-being of ALL peoples and ecosystems first."

Read More Show Less

Trending

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage in Edmonton on Friday, April 24, 2020. Chris Schwarz / Government of Alberta / Flickr

Anti-pipeline protests work.

That's the implication behind comments made by Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage Friday on how coronavirus social distancing requirements could ease the construction of Canada's controversial Trans Mountain Expansion project.

Read More Show Less