Saturday, April 16, 2016

244.3 - Good News: hundreds arrested in civil disobedience

Good News: hundreds arrested in civil disobedience

Our third Good News entry for the week comes from a place where we need a lot more good news: the streets. Streets filled with protesters.

On April 2, 150 people set out from Philadelphia on a March to Washington, about 140 miles away. They were part of an action called "Democracy Spring," a coalition of over 100 organizations which together demand legislation to restore the voting power of ordinary citizens by means such as ending the influence of big money in our political system, restoring the Voting Rights Act, and clamping down on gerrymandering and voter ID laws, which are a tool of voter suppression against minorities, students, and the elderly.

On Monday, April 11, hundreds marched through Washington, DC to the Capitol. Media accounts put the crowd at about 600 but from the video I saw, that seems an undercount.

At the Capitol, over 400 people sat on the steps, refusing to leave, and were arrested in the first of what is planned to be a series of nonviolent civil disobedience actions through the week.

Police, badly underestimating the potential crowd, initially brought a single bus to Capitol Plaza to take the protesters away.

The action continued on Tuesday, with 85 more people - all of them seniors - cheerfully arrested.

I'm recording this on Wednesday and I don't know what has happened today, but I do know that over 3,500 people from 33 states have pledged to take part in actions at the Capitol this week to protest the slow erosion of our democracy, which would make this one of the largest civil disobedience actions of the past several decades.

Which is good news. And I say we need a lot more good news of this sort.

Update: As of Saturday evening, arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience were over 900 and may well be over 1,000 before the week-long series of actions ends on Monday.

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