On the 18th of April,Democracy Awakening marched to the US Capitol for the culminating sit-in of a series begun a week ago by Democracy Spring. At the head of the march were NAACP and CASA contingents, including familes with small children. There appeared to be considerable overlap with the immigration rights protest at the Supreme Court. The march took over a good part of the Capitol Plaza upon arrival. During the sit-in, the presidents of the NAACP and of Greenpeace were among those arrested.
The final arrest total was reported at around 300, but police avoided predictions of even more arrests by pushing support protesters back rather than attempting to arrest them. They taped off an area surrounding the support protesters, then pushed them under the tape. During previous sit-ins last week, there were threats of arrest against the same part of the protest, unknown if some of the very large arrest totals were from arresting the supporters.
Democracy Awakening appears to have been organizationally separate from Democracy Spring, thus the two different schedules that were published, one for a week after the march from Philly and one just for the April 16-18 weekend. There was a lot of “celebrity” involvement in the Democracy Awakens march, notably the arrests of the presidents of the NAACP and of Greenpeace. The march seemed to draw from a wide cross-section of society and many new to protest
To the “one percent” and big corporations, politics perhaps can be thought of as lawn care. Fertilize liberally with folding green fertilizer, apply “police repression” brand weedkiller as needed. Intention is something just like astroturf. The only thing is, discontent can spread like dandilion seeds. A breath of air to spread the seeds, manucured lawn becomes bed of weeds!
One break the cops caught at Democracy Awakening was this: due to much of the crowd being new to protests, police were able to push crowds back with relatively small forces. The police line that pushed back the support people was only one cop thick. These same protesters after a year of experience might easily break through such weak police lines. The skirmish line used today would not have been able to stop a 100 person Occupy contingent from charging straight through it, and back in 2007, a mixed SDS and anarchist contingent pushed the US Capitol police as a whole from 3ed st all the way to the top of the Capitol steps. That kind of capability comes from experience and training, and always begins with exactly the sort of thing that the first Occupy protests and Democracy Spring represent.
The Nation magazine declared that the April 18th sit-in against money in politics may by the most important protest of the entire 2016 election cycle. If this is so and Trump, Cruz, or Hillery takes the White House, these same protesters may be back with far more experience and many more options. Certainly it will be an interesting counterinaugural on Jan 20, 2017 against any of those three.
Leading the march
The Capitol steps as the first warning goes out
Cops pushed supporters sideways out of a huge taped-off area, then under the tape
The sit-in isolated by cops pushing supporters away
Sit-in participants being arrested. Many were permitted to walk under their own power without being cuffed to a processing area. After all, carrying someone who has gone limp is like carrying 3-4 sacks of concrete