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"Stop the War! Feed the Poor!": March by Poor People's Campaign Ends With Arrests in DC

The protest on Capitol Hill comes ahead of a mass mobilization planned for Saturday

Jessica Corbett

Members of the Poor People's Campaign marched to the U.S. Capitol Building on Thursday. (Photo: @liztheo/Twitter)

As part of the final week of Poor People's Campaign demonstrations leading up to the movement's Mass Rally and Moral Revival in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, hundreds of protesters joined together in chants and songs as they marched to and then were arrested outside of the U.S. Capitol Building on Thursday.

Organized by Rev. Drs. William Barber and Liz Theoharis, the movement takes inspiration from a campaign of the same name launched 50 years ago by Martin Luther King, Jr. Through a series of nationwide demonstrations in recent weeks, supporters have called for an immediate end to "systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the nation's distorted morality."

The focus of Thursday's demonstration, Barber told a crowd through a bullhorn, was "policy violence against families and children," which was only partly inspired by the Trump administration's highly contentious family separation policy.

"When we talk about policy violence, we mean snatching up not just children—brown children, because it wouldn't be happening any other way—and putting them in cages, but we also are talking about cutting healthcare. That's policy violence," Barber explained. "We're talking about protecting gun companies and not protecting our children. We're talking about refusing a living wage—that's violent. We're talking about cutting Medicare and Medicaid by $2 trillion, proposing it, that's violence."

As members of the movement chanted "Stop the war! Feed the poor!" outside the Capitol, inside the building, members of the U.S. House were narrowly passing a Farm Bill which demonstrates that, as Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) put it, "Republicans are waging war on anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs."

Ahead of arresting the demonstrators, police forced journalists away from the scene, according to a video posted to the campaign's Twitter account:

On Saturday, thousands of people are expected to travel to D.C. to participate in the #PoorPeoplesCampaign protest on the National Mall.


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