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Hundreds of activists protest the Trump administration’s separation of children from immigrant parents, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Capitol Police arrested nearly 600 people Thursday after hundreds of loudly chanting women demonstrated inside a Senate office building against President Donald Trump’s treatment of migrant families. Among them were a Washington state congresswoman, the lawmaker said on Twitter.

The protests came as demonstrations occurred around the country over the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families. They offered a glimpse of what might happen on Saturday when rallies are planned coast to coast.

Amid unrelenting daily images of distraught immigrant children separated from parents and herded into fenced enclosures, women sat on the floor of the Senate Hart Office building’s 90-foot-high atrium. Seated around Alexander Calder’s black metallic “Mountain and Clouds” sculpture, they shouted slogans and cheered for a handful of fist-pumping lawmakers — all Democrats — who waded into the crowd.

“What do we want? Free families!” and “This is what democracy looks like” were among their cries.

Many wore foil blankets similar to those given to migrants housed at U.S. detention facilities.

The sit-in of protesting women was organized by two liberal groups, Women’s March and the Center for Popular Democracy. The action lasted more than two hours.

In a written statement, the Capitol Police said around 575 people were charged with unlawfully demonstrating inside the office building. The police said those arrested were being released after they were processed.

Winnie Wong, political adviser for the Women’s March, said the crowd’s fervor will translate into “the energy we will need to see to at the ballot box in November,” when congressional control will be at stake.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said she was arrested during the protest. Jayapal, who was born in India, tweeted a video of herself in which she said she was proud to be arrested to protest Trump’s zero-tolerance policy.

“We’re here to fight for our families to be free, to fight for the ability of our kids to be with their parents — not in cages, not in prison, but able to live their lives free, safe and secure,” Jayapal said.

Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Edward Markey of Massachusetts also appeared before the crowd. “These folks are out here fighting for the core principles of our nation, and I applaud them for it,” Merkley said in an interview.

Under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, the government has begun prosecuting all migrants caught entering the country without authorization. Trump has halted his policy of taking children from their detained parents under public pressure but around 2,000 of them are still being held, with many families saying they’ve not known how to locate them.

The sit-in came two days after another show of liberal political energy in which 28-year-old political neophyte Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ousted 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary for his House seat in New York.

Hundreds of people gathered at a rally outside a federal courthouse in Brownsville, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley.

Dozens of people shut down a government meeting in Michigan in protest of a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees at a local jail. And eight people were arrested outside an ICE building in Portland, Oregon, that has been closed because of a round-the-clock demonstration.

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5 thoughts on “Hundreds Arrested In D.C. Immigration Protests

  1. Jean on said:

    Silliness will always override common sense.Mac Stupid known as Mack daddy. Don’t you know people of all races eat at buffets including you?

  2. SheCat54 on said:

    Why do y’all want to come here? You have over run the place to the point of annoyance that you don’t realize how bad many legal americas want you out of here. I don’t have any sympathy for the kids or the parents. Whats really the problem in your country or wherever your from? Make demands for better treatment and be aggressive like your are to live in the US. You have worn out your welcome stay in your country and make it work for you this is for all foreigners. The US is a big landfill full of to many cultures. You think you are owed everything when you come here but, what you owe americans is to learn to speak our language stop being rude and say excuse me, hygiene and dress better be better housekeepers and stop zapping government help, or just stay in your country.

  3. What is fascism?

    To be sure of the definition, I went to my online dictionary. Fascism is a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. Enter Donald J. Trump. This country with all of its flaws is very close to hitting rock bottom. There is a Republican party who wanted to crucify Hillary Clinton and attempted to sabotage everything President Obama tried to accomplish. The good that is being done now is not based on the efforts of 46-1 but on all the efforts put forth by the Obama administration. Mitch McConnell and his Republican cronies have sold their soul, and have no backbone. (They have a backbone when they silenced Elizabeth Warren and tried to silence Maxine Waters. And quiet is kept, I believe those people are soul-less! ) They knew that they could not control Hillary Clinton and it appears that they thought they could handle 46-1. They cannot. He is encased in a demonic shroud who has hypocritical evangelicals standing guard to make sure America returns to early 20th century behaviors of racism, sexism, xenophobia and the like. As a result, America has a Mussolini type character in the White House- a house build by Black hands! What is most disturbing is the democratic team appear to be hopeless. But there is hope! Prayer without works is absolutely dead. The hope I seek is for all clear thinking people is to vote! Recognize when you are being lied to by 46-1. Recognize when 46-1 is taking statements out of context to fit his agenda. Do not get complacent and think things will not change. Things will change for the better. Civil disobedience is consistently needed to be coupled with a consistent corporate prayer to fight 46-1 and his team of imps! Football players are setting an example! Students across the country are setting an example! Women are setting an example. God moves the hand that moves the pen! There too is an example. Someone said (my paraphrase) we may have come to this country by different methods but as Americans, we are all in the same boat. If 46-1 continues, it may be like the Titanic. The only way to stop his regime is to vote them out of office! In the coming months, I plan to publish Leadership Matters. If you are interested please read the 9th Chapter of Judges in the Bible to see the similarities to 46-1.

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