Democracy Spring Protestors Arrested at U.S. Capitol
Yesterday, 400 protestors were arrested at the U.S. Capitol Building; they were affiliated with Democracy Spring, an organization protesting the relationship between money and politics. The protestors were arrested for “unlawful demonstration activity,” like crowding and obstruction. However, the organization promises to continue its efforts, and bring protestors back to the Capitol Building throughout the week.
The protestors marched 140 miles from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. to protest at the Capitol Building. The aim of the protestors is to: “draw attention to our corrupt campaign finance system and rigged voting laws.” Democracy Spring claims that over 3,500 people from 33 states have committed to joining the protests. According to Reuters:
Police arrested those who sat on the stairs of the East Front of the Capitol, the seat of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
— My name is (@RevoltPolitic) April 12, 2016
— Paulina Leonovich (@Polly_evro) April 12, 2016
— Doug Hughes (@DougHughesDCfly) April 12, 2016
Campaign finance reform has played a big part in the 2016 election thus far. The populist non-establishment candidates in both parties–Donald Trump on the Republican side and Senator Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side–have run on platforms that heavily emphasize campaign finance reform.
According to Kai Newkirk, a Democracy Spring organizer, the aims of the protest were to encourage Congress to take action:
And there are four bills, in particular, that we’ve identified—two that deal with big money in politics and two that will protect and expand the right to vote and voter access. One would set up public finance, a citizen funding of elections, so that anyone can run for office without raising money from billionaires. Another is an amendment that would overturnCitizens United. The third would restore the damage that was done to the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court, the Voting Rights Advancement Act. And the fourth, the Voter Empowerment Act, would do many positive things to make it easier for people to get to the polls and to be able to vote.
The protestors are also encouraging Congress to nominate a Supreme Court justice who will rule in favor of campaign finance reform. While some of the protestors today were arrested, in light of the current ire against money in politics, commotion at the Capitol seems likely to continue for the next few days.