It was one of the most massive acts of civil disobedience in recent U.S. history. Over the past week, well over 1,000 people were arrested in an enormous sit-in protest at the U.S. Capitol. The demonstration is part of a new movement that calls itself “Democracy Spring.” Activists are calling for ending the chokehold money has on U.S. politics, overturning Citizens United and restoring voting rights. On April 2, activists launched a colossal 10-day, 140-mile march from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. This was the preface to the mass arrests. At least 1,240 protesters were arrested in the week from Monday, April 11 to Monday, April 18, according to police, on charges of crowding, obstructing or incommoding. Some activists even tied themselves to scaffolding in the Capitol rotunda.
Activists say even more people were arrested. The Nation put the figure at 1,400. The left-wing magazine refers to Democracy Spring and the allied Democracy Awakening protests from April 16 to 18 as “the most important protest of the 2016 election.”
A host of celebrities and prominent figures joined the protesters. Actress Rosario Dawson — who has become an outspoken Bernie Sanders supporter — was arrested, as was Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, along with leaders from the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP.