Quantcast

400 Arrested on Capitol Steps Protesting Big Money in Politics

Politics

Vowing that this is "just the beginning," more than 400 people were arrested on Monday for holding a massive sit-in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, protesting the influence of Big Money on the political system.

The actions today dovetail into a series of rallies, teach-ins and direct actions dubbed Democracy Awakening on April 16-18, during which more than 200 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people will demand that Congress fill the vacant Supreme Court seat and pass legislation that restores voting rights and reforms the campaign finance system.

The civil disobedience campaign known as Democracy Spring is in the midst of an unprecedented mobilization featuring marches, sit-ins, teach-ins and rallies in the nation's capital, all aimed to pressure lawmakers to take a stand against the corrupt campaign finance system.

"Yesterday can be the beginning of the end of this corruption and inequality in our democracy," Kai Newkirk, campaign director for Democracy Spring, told Democracy Now! on Tuesday.

"We sent a message to Congress that we will not accept inaction to save our democracy. And we sent a message to everyone from for political office that you have to make a decision," added Newkirk, who was among those arrested.

"If you choose to defend the status quo of corruption, we believe there's going to be growing nonviolent resistance in the streets, at the Capitol, at your fundraisers, and in the polls, to say that we will not take it anymore. We demand an equal voice in our democracy and we are going to be back at the Capitol today, tomorrow, and the next day."

On Tuesday, organizers are holding a civil disobedience training session before they, once again, march from Union Station to the Capitol steps for another round of nonviolent sit-ins. The group will be joined by dozens of elder activists who say they want to leave future generations a working democracy.

The coalition, which includes members of more than 100 pro-democracy, civil rights, environmental and peace organizations, says that more than 3,700 people have pledged to risk arrest, which would make Democracy Spring "the largest American civil disobedience action in a generation."

Newkirk said that it took hours to process the nearly 500 arrests and that there will be even more people joining the sit-ins Tuesday. Activists were charged with "crowding, obstructing, and incommoding," according to a statement released by the U.S. Capitol Police.

Among those arrested on Monday were progressive leaders including Young Turks host Cenk Uygur, author and food justice activist Frances Moore Lappé, co-founder of CODEPINK Jodie Evans, and Umi Selah, human rights activist and founder of the Dream Defenders.

Meanwhile, others shared support for the demonstrators on Twitter:

The actions dovetail into a series of rallies, teach-ins and direct actions dubbed Democracy Awakening on April 16-18, during which more than 200 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of people will demand that Congress fill the vacant Supreme Court seat and pass legislation that restores voting rights and reforms the campaign finance system.

"This could be a moment that could turn the tide," Newkirk said.

The "vast majority of people in our country" agree that the political system is not representing us, he added. "It is corrupt and because of that we have a rigged economy. We want a government that is of, by, and for the people—not the one percent. And we stood up and sent a message that we are going to win that, one way or another."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

7 Great Examples of People and Communities Living a Post-Carbon World

Bernie Sanders Calls for Nationwide Ban on Fracking

The Most Powerful Oil and Gas Lobby You’ve Never Heard Of

Top Climate Denier Turns Down $20k Bet From Bill Nye

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A dead sea lion on the beach at Border Field State Park, near the international border wall between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. Sherry Smith / iStock / Getty Images

While Trump's border wall has yet to be completed, the threat it poses to pollinators is already felt, according to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as reported by Transmission & Distribution World.

Read More Show Less
People crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on July 20, 2017 in New York City sought to shield themselves from the sun as the temperature reached 93 degrees. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

by Jordan Davidson

Taking action to stop the mercury from rising is a matter of life and death in the U.S., according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Salmon fry before being released just outside San Francisco Bay. Jim Wilson / The New York Times / Redux

By Alisa Opar

For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn't just strong — it's imperative. And for the first time in more than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from California's San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual spring run.

Read More Show Less
AnnaPustynnikova / iStock / Getty Images

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD

Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most popular mushrooms worldwide.

Read More Show Less
Protesters hold a banner and a placard while blocking off the road during a protest against Air pollution in London. Ryan Ashcroft / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Dozens of students, parents, teachers and professionals joined a Friday protest organized by Extinction Rebellion that temporarily stalled morning rush-hour traffic in London's southeasten borough of Lewisham to push politicians to more boldly address dangerous air pollution across the city.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Moment / Getty Images

By Bridget Shirvell

On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn't just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds and snack bars; they're also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.

Read More Show Less
Coal ash has contaminated the Vermilion River in Illinois. Eco-Justice Collaborative / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

Summers in the Midwest are great for outdoor activities like growing your garden or cooling off in one of the area's many lakes and streams. But some waters aren't as clean as they should be.

That's in part because coal companies have long buried toxic waste known as coal ash near many of the Midwest's iconic waterways, including Lake Michigan. Though coal ash dumps can leak harmful chemicals like arsenic and cadmium into nearby waters, regulators have done little to address these toxic sites. As a result, the Midwest is now littered with coal ash dumps, with Illinois containing the most leaking sites in the country.

Read More Show Less

picture-alliance / AP Photo / NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

The Group of 20 major economies agreed a deal to reduce marine pollution at a meeting of their environment ministers on Sunday in Karuizawa, Japan.

Read More Show Less