Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

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

People relax in Victoria Gardens with the Houses of Parliament in the background in central London, as a heatwave hit the continent with temperatures touching 40 degrees Celsius on June 25, 2020. NIKLAS HALLE'N / AFP via Getty Images

The chance that UK summer days could hit the 40 degree Celsius mark on the thermometer is on the rise, a new study from the country's Met Office Hadley Centre has found.

Read More Show Less
A crowd of people congregate along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida on June 26, 2020, amid a surge in coronavirus cases. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP / Getty Images

By Melissa Hawkins

After sustained declines in the number of COVID-19 cases over recent months, restrictions are starting to ease across the United States. Numbers of new cases are falling or stable at low numbers in some states, but they are surging in many others. Overall, the U.S. is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of new cases a day, and by late June, had surpassed the peak rate of spread in early April.

Read More Show Less
A Chesapeake Energy drilling rig is located on farmland near Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, on March 20, 2012. Melanie Stetson Freeman / The Christian Science Monitor / Getty Images

By Eoin Higgins

Climate advocates pointed to news Sunday that fracking giant Chesapeake Energy was filing for bankruptcy as further evidence that the fossil fuel industry's collapse is being hastened by the coronavirus pandemic and called for the government to stop propping up businesses in the field.

Read More Show Less
Youth participate in the Global Climate Strike in Providence, Rhode Island on September 20, 2019. Gabriel Civita Ramirez / CC by 2.0

By Neil King and Gabriel Borrud

Human beings all over the world agreed to strict limitations to their rights when governments made the decision to enter lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis. Many have done it willingly on behalf of the collective. So why can't this same attitude be seen when tackling climate change?

Read More Show Less
A crowd awaits the evening lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota on June 23, 2012. Mindy / Flickr

Fire experts have already criticized President Trump's planned fireworks event for this Friday at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial as a dangerous idea. Now, it turns out the event may be socially irresponsible too as distancing guidelines and mask wearing will not be enforced at the event, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Mountains of produce, including eggs, milk and onions, are going to waste as the COVID-19 pandemic shutters restaurants, restricts transport, limits what workers are able to do and disrupts supply chains. United States government work

By Emma Charlton

Gluts of food left to rot as a consequence of coronavirus aren't just wasteful – they're also likely to damage the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The gates of the unusually low drought-affected Carraizo Dam are seen closed in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico on June 29, 2020. RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP via Getty Images)

Puerto Rico's governor declared a state of emergency on Monday after a severe drought on the island left 140,000 people without access to running water, despite the necessary role that hand washing and hygiene plays in stopping the novel coronavirus, as The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less