“Democracy Spring” showed off its staying power on Wednesday, as hundreds of democracy reform activists returned to the U.S. Capitol grounds for a new round of demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience in support of legislation to address money in politics, voting rights, and redistricting issues.
On the third day of a planned week of demonstrations, Democracy Spring focused specifically on racial justice. Protestors talked and took pictures of themselves waving American flags and holding signs with messages including, “$ + Politics = Bad” and “End Corruption Now.”
The protestors are looking to rally the public behind reforms including a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the door for massive corporate political spending. They’re also pushing a suite of reforms to protect and strengthen voting rights and empower small-dollar political donors by using public funds to supplement their campaign contributions.
There were more arrests – hundreds of them – on Wednesday as demonstrators holding Democracy Spring signs and wearing Black Lives Matter shirts peacefully defied police by staging a sit-in at the foot of stairs in front of the Capitol. Amid chants of “people over profits,” people were arrested one by one. Some of the protestors being escorted away sang, “This Land is Your Land.” Those left behind police lines chanted, “we love you!” at those participating in the sit-in, who responded with the same words.
However, the mood between the protestors and the police was not entirely friendly. On Monday, the first day of demonstrations, protestors welcomed the police, calling on them to join in the protests. But by Wednesday afternoon, tensions were higher. For the first time this week, an area designated for those supporting but not actually participating in the sit-in was blocked off by police tape. Police warned that anyone inside the barrier would be arrested if they did not disband, though at mid-afternoon it was unclear whether they followed through on the threat or confined their arrests to those who were sitting.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Money in Politics