Women and men from across the country crowded into the lobby of the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday morning, affirming their support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who she has accused of sexual assault.
The Women's March, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Center for Popular Democracy all participated in the protest, where demonstrators chanted, "We believe Christine Ford! We believe Anita Hill!" before proceeding to senators' offices.
#DearProfessorFord We Believe! Our peaceful #StopKanavaugh protest is starting at Hart Senate Building. We are loud and beautiful, just like our Democracy. @CPDAction @womensmarch @housingworks pic.twitter.com/jA5kNnETpn
— Joanna Oltman Smith (@jooltman) September 20, 2018
Dozens of protesters descended on the offices of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has overseen Kavanaugh's confirmation but sparked outrage for refusing to back the demand for a FBI investigation into her allegations and for giving Ford a Friday morning deadline to agree to a hearing scheduled for Monday,
Some shared stories of their own sexual assaults with Grassley's staff.
Survivors are sharing their stories in @ChuckGrassley’s office.
— Women's March (@womensmarch) September 20, 2018
Chanting in the hallway rose over the volume of a coalition meeting on the Hill this morning. Protests and arrests (all peaceful) around the #Kavanaugh confirmation (pic outside Corker office, similar scene outside Grassley) pic.twitter.com/Wxioc58Dmv
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— Noelle Ellerson Ng (@Noellerson) September 20, 2018
Demonstrators also filed into the office of Sen. Susan Collin (R-Maine)—a potentially crucial vote—with many wearing pins with messages of support for Ford.
— K Tully-McManus (@ktullymcmanus) September 20, 2018
Collins has claimed for years to stand up for women's rights, but she has provoked outrage among her constituents and pro-choice Americans across the country by failing to pledge that she will vote against Kavanaugh, who last year denied a young immigrant in U.S. custody the right to obtain an abortion. On Wednesday, she criticized Ford for indicating that she will likely not testify before the Judiciary Committee, calling the decision "not fair" to Kavanaugh.
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) September 20, 2018
Several protesters were arrested outside Collins's office, according to reports on social media.
On the other side of the country, the women's advocacy group UltraViolet organized its own show of support for Ford. From 11:00am to 1:00pm, the group arranged to fly a plane over Palo Alto, California carrying a banner reading, "Thank you Christine. We have your back."
"We believe women and we believe Christine Blasey Ford. Ford has demonstrated tremendous courage in coming forward and sharing her story of how Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. She is a hero and we have her back," said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, in an emailed statement. "Violence against women should have no place in our society and it certainly should have no place on the highest court in the nation. Brett Kavanaugh should withdraw his nomination."