Arrests were reported at sit-ins and protests outside the offices of U.S. lawmakers nationwide on Thursday as progressive groups mobilized in anticipation of a mid-July vote on the Senate GOP's Trumpcare bill, which would strip health insurance from 22 million people, dismantle Medicaid, and potentially kill thousands per year.
Democracy Spring, Our Revolution, Democratic Socialists of America, The Working Families Party, UltraViolet, and other organizations joined in what has been described as "a mass act of civil disobedience." The groups made one simple demand of the senators whose offices they occupied: Vote 'no' on the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act.
Hundreds of activists across the country joined the action. Some delivered speeches from inside their senators' offices while others—like residents of Pennsylvania and Kentucky, home to Sens. Pat Toomey and Mitch McConnell—were forced to protest outside in the rain after being denied entry. Many arrests have been made, but the exact number is unknown.
Democracy Spring compiled a list of links to video streams of sit-ins across the country.
— Emley Kerry (@emleykerry) July 6, 2017
Kai Newkirk, mission director of Democracy Spring, told Common Dreams that the goal of the day of action is to "move Americans to raise their voices against this attack on our healthcare even louder."
"Sometimes the consequences of legislation for real people can get lost. Nonviolent direct action can dramatize and clarify the reality," Newkirk said. "Thousands of lives are on the line if this barbaric bill passes. People in red and purple states across the country are sitting in today, willing to go to jail, to show just how wrong this bill is and how crucial it is that we escalate the fight to defeat it."