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Capitol Police Arrest Jesse Jackson, Others For Protesting Outside U.S. Capitol Building

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


Rev. Jesse Jackson was arrested alongside some twenty other activists while attending a protest at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Jackson, 79, was placed under arrest by Capitol police for “illegal demonstrating activity” for the voting rights protest, which was organized by the Poor People’s Campaign.

WTTG reports that apart from Jackson, police also arrested liberal activist Bishop William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)’s national board.

Barber and Jackson were reportedly “field arrested” while holding a protest to demand action from Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, to pass the so-called For The People Act, which is struggling to see passage due to the filibuster rule.

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The organizers called on McConnell and West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin to let it through.

Scenes of the non-violent demonstration were captured by Vice News reported Alexis Johnson, who posted videos and photos of Jackson’s arrest on social media.

According to Johnson, Barber called the GOP the “party against voting rights” and said it was time to ask members of Congress, “Which side are you on?”

“McConnell’s obstructionist caucus as politically mean, extreme, regressive and anti the Constitution – anti the very Constitution they swore to uphold,” Barber said in his speech. “Officially, somebody said that they proved they were the party against voting rights but we’ve already known that. We didn’t need a procedural vote to prove that to use.”

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The two speakers were given a ticket but not taken to jail.

The outlet reports that Jackson and the protesters blocked the street outside the Hart building and refused to disperse when ordered by Capitol police.

“Organizers led by [Barber] and Rev. Jesse Jackson blocked the street outside of the Hart building and refused to disperse,” reported Johnson.

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Following his public arrest, Jackson confirmed it on social media by retweeting posts that highlighted the size of the protest group, which saw a turnout of several hundred progressive activists who marched outside the Capitol offices to protest McConnell and Manchin.

WTTG reports that the Poor People’s Campaign announced the demonstration earlier this week, which they said would be held under the banner “A National Call for Moral Revival.”

Both Jackson and Barber have been arrested multiple times for their activism over the decades.

Jackson, a member of the “Greenville Eight,” saw his first arrest for protesting on July 16, 1960, when he performed a sit-in with seven other Black protesters at a whites-only public library in South Carolina.

On social media, many liberals drew comparisons between Jackson and Barber’s swift arrest by Capitol police in comparison to the January 6 riot, hundreds of whom were only arrested in the weeks after.

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According to the Daily Mail, one claimed that Jackson and Barber were only arrested “for being Black,” and that “no one in DC arrested white Insurrectionists for trying to overthrow our Government.”

“I guess cops are sending the message you need to come in body armor, with weapons and threats of killing lawmakers to not get arrested. Or be white,” wrote another.

The comparisons fail to hold up to scrutiny as those arrested for the January 6 riot remain in prison, many of whom have not yet been charged for their alleged participation in the riot.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey spoke out about the treatment of the alleged rioters, many of whom are being held in solitary confinement, reported the Washington Examiner.

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