The Capitol Police charged approximately 575 people with unlawfully demonstrating in the atrium of the Hart Senate Building. They are being processed on the scene and then released.
More than a thousand female protesters, joined by Democratic senators, marched two miles down Pennsylvania Avenue to protest the Trump Administration’s family detention and separation policies, and demanded the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ABC reports. The walk ended in the Hart Senate building, where Capitol Police arrested many of them in response to an act of civil disobedience.
Chanting “WE CARE” and “ABOLISH ICE,” the protesters are demanding Congress act to end Trump’s policies that criminalize and detain undocumented immigrants and separate detained families. ICE is a common acronym for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Women’s March organizers were involved in today’s action, along with local D.C. advocacy groups. The rally started in Freedom Plaza at around 11 a.m and proceeded down Pennsylvania Avenue until participants reached the Capitol. Once they reached the building, women sat on the ground and waited to be carted off. Police began arresting them in groups.
Protesters walked around wearing mylar blankets similar to those being handed out to immigrant children detained and separated from their families.
“Women are outraged at the separation of families,” said Linda Sarsour, one of last year’s Women’s March Organizer. “We are outraged of all the things that are unfolding in our country.”
Democratic Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut visited the protesters to support their efforts. Sen. Tammy Duckworth was spotted in her wheelchair with her daughter in her lap.
“We are here to say we’re ready to sacrifice and we’re ready to leave our jobs, leave our families to come and take this act of civil disobedience here,” she said.
The actress Susan Sarandon made an appearance at the march, and she was arrested in the second group of protesters in the Hart Building, where 50 senators have their offices, according to Washington Post reporter Marissa Lang.
The march began near the Department of Justice, where speakers rallied supporters by sharing their experiences with immigration and calling for action. Before the march, protesters were split into four groups to review the procedures if arrested.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas called for ongoing mobilization beyond Thursday’s protest. “This is not a day event,” Lee told a crowd of protesters. “This is an everyday event.”
People showed their support through handmade signs, including one that read “Don’t have a heart of I.C.E.” Others marked “We Care” on their palms. Still other protesters wore jackets with “I really care. Do you?” painted in white on their backs, a reaction to the controversy that followed First Lady Melania Trump’s trip to the southwest to visit detained children. As she boarded a plane in Washington D.C, photographers could clearly read the message “I really don’t care. Do u?” on the back of her jacket, which reportedly retails from Zara for $39. While the First Lady took the jacket off before exiting the plane, it was widely seen as an inappropriate choice of clothing.
As women protested downstairs, senators began coming down to shake their hands and say thank you.
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