As the Senate moved one step closer to voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, thousands of men and women took over the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday afternoon, voicing solidarity with sexual assault survivors and demanding that lawmakers reject President Donald Trump's nominee.
After rallying at Supreme Court earlier in the day, protesters who'd traveled from all over the country filled the building with chants of, "Whose Senate? Our Senate!" and "Believe Survivors!" as more than one hundred were arrested after staging mass civil disobedience.
Journalists at the scene reported that the demonstration was even larger than the protests which were credited with forcing senators to vote against the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the summer of 2017.
At about 4:00pm, Capitol Police began arresting many of the demonstrators.
The protests followed vigils at Senate offices across the country on Wednesday night and came as Republican leaders announced plans to hold a procedural vote on Kavanaugh on Friday, bringing senators one step closer to a final vote on President Donald Trump's historically unpopular nominee --and bringing the national outrage over Kavanaugh to a fever pitch.
As Americans traveled from all over the country to join the protests, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) announced she would vote against the judge, following the conclusion of the FBI's extremely limited investigation into the sexual assault allegations.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) had not committed to voting for or against Kavanaugh as of Thursday afternoon. Many of the protesters traveled from their states to appeal to the lawmakers directly.
\u201cMaine residents are here to protest against Brett #Kavanaugh confirmation. Chanting \u201c@SenatorCollins we\u2019re your voters.\u201d Collins is seen as an undecided vote. #DC\u201d— Her Campus American (@Her Campus American) 1538674797
\u201cNora Barlow, center, Sarra Khlifi (L) and Lori Pickett (R) protest at SCOTUS. They are among more than 100 Alaskans who flew to DC on short notice to meet with Sen. \u2066@lisamurkowski\u2069\u201d— Liz Ruskin-AK public radio reporter (@Liz Ruskin-AK public radio reporter) 1538618794
The demonstrators also displayed banners in the atrium, reading "We believe Christine Blasey Ford" and "November Is Coming."
\u201cThe view from the floor where we\u2019re being arrested for protesting the appointment of a sexual predator on our nation\u2019s highest court. \n\n#WomenDisobey #CancelKavanaugh #BelieveSurvivors\u201d— Women's March (@Women's March) 1538682233
\u201cRoe is at risk of being overturned by an openly misogynistic president who's bragged about assaulting women\u2014who nominated a judge who's been credibly accused of sexual assault himself. THESE MEN CAN'T BE TRUSTED TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT OUR LIVES & BODIES. #StopKavanaugh\u201d— NARAL (@NARAL) 1538682051