ar­rested at U.S. Capi­tol protests.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - FRANK E. LOCK­WOOD

WASH­ING­TON — Arkansans flooded into the of­fices of U.S. Sens. John Booz­man and Tom Cot­ton on Wednes­day, urg­ing the Re­pub­li­can law­mak­ers to pre­serve the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act.

Later, the ac­tivists poured into the hall­ways of the Hart and Rus­sell Se­nate Of­fice Build­ings, con­tin­u­ing their demon­stra­tions de­spite be­ing told to cease and de­sist.

U.S. Capi­tol po­lice ar­rested at least nine of the Arkansans. Nei­ther of the sen­a­tors was present to wit­ness the demon­stra­tion.

Sim­i­lar protests were held through­out the af­ter­noon, with law en­force­ment of­fi­cials re­spond­ing to 45 sep­a­rate in­ci­dents, a po­lice spokesman said.

About 155 peo­ple had been ar­rested by early evening.

Un­der D.C. Code 10– 503.16, it is il­le­gal to “ob­struct, or to im­pede pas­sage through or within, the United States Capi­tol Grounds or any of the Capi­tol Build­ings” or “to pa­rade, demon­strate, or picket within any of the Capi­tol Build­ings.”

Those ar­rested Wednes­day were charged with vi­o­lat­ing 22-1307, which pro­hibits “crowd­ing, ob­struct­ing or in­com­mod­ing.”

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials al­lowed the protests to con­tinue for a time, even­tu­ally or­der­ing them to stop. Hun­dreds of protesters obeyed the orders and were al­lowed to leave.

The rest were taken into cus­tody.

At least five who re­fused to co­op­er­ate were charged with re­sist­ing ar­rest.

Protesters have de­scended on Capi­tol Hill re­peat­edly over the past month to op­pose Oba­macare cuts.

Forty-three peo­ple were de­tained on June 22; 40 more on June 28; 80 on July 10; and 33 on Mon­day, the Capi­tol Po­lice re­ported.

Arkansans were charged on at least two other oc­ca­sions.

Rather than hav­ing them stand trial, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials al­lowed pre­vi­ous protesters to “post and for­feit col­lat­eral.”

By pay­ing a $50 penalty, they ob­tain “a full and fi­nal res­o­lu­tion of the crim­i­nal charge.” Un­der the law, they walk away with­out a crim­i­nal con­vic­tion.

The new­est protesters hoped their con­fine­ment would not be lengthy. They were given $50 each; money that would ul­ti­mately be sur­ren­dered to the gov­ern­ment.

Corey Moore, 43, was among those ar­rested Wednes­day. He shouted “We want health care, we want health care,” as he was led away from Booz­man’s of­fice.

Be­fore his ar­rest, the Alexan­der res­i­dent said he works with spe­cial needs chil­dren in the Lit­tle Rock School District, kids who “de­pend on Medi­care and Med­i­caid to help them get bet­ter, to go on and live a nor­mal life.”

The idea that Repub­li­cans would slash fund­ing ap­palls him, he said.

“This is Amer­ica,” he said. “We are the great­est coun­try in the world and we’re sup­posed to be the rich­est coun­try in the world. And we can’t pro­vide Medi­care and Med­i­caid to the ones who need it?”

Moore said he’d never en­gaged in this type of civil dis­obe­di­ence be­fore.

“I was al­ways taught and I al­ways be­lieved through­out my life, [that] you have to fight for what’s right, you have to stand for what’s right [and] fight for the ones that can’t fight for their­selves,” he said.

Shawn Ricks, a 67-year-old vet­eran, was also ar­rested.

Ear­lier Wednes­day, he said he fears Repub­li­cans will slash health care pro­grams he re­lies on.

“I came into con­tact with Agent Or­ange while I was serv­ing and as a re­sult, I have diabetes,” he said.

He needs a VA sys­tem that is prop­erly funded and a Medi­care pro­gram that con­tin­ues to func­tion, he said.

“I don’t think it’ s fair for me to go over to Viet­nam and fight for my coun­try and have to come back home and fight for my health care. To me, that doesn’t make any sense,” he added.

Shortly be­fore her ar­rest, Deb­o­rah Brewer of North Lit­tle Rock wiped away tears as she dis­cussed the health chal­lenges that her daugh­ter, Ke­sha, faces.

“She has epilepsy. She has seizures. She’s a beau­ti­cian … and she has Oba­macare and she’s afraid if they do away with that, she won’t be able to go to the doc­tor or get her med­i­ca­tion or treat­ments or none of that,” she said.

Brewer, 63, has health prob­lems of her own, she added.

“I’m a three-time can­cer sur­vivor with sev­eral other pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions,” she said. “We need this health care to sur­vive.”

An­other pro­tester who was ar­rested, Sarah Bryan of Fayet­teville, said her fa­ther, Gary, re­lies on gov­ern­ment health pro­grams.

“He’s HIV-pos­i­tive, epilep­tic and di­a­betic,” she said.

His med­i­ca­tion is ex­pen­sive and “with­out Med­i­caid, he couldn’t af­ford it,” she said. “I’m here to fight for him.”

AP/MANUEL BALCE CENETA

Capi­tol Po­lice ar­rest New York City Coun­cil mem­ber Corey John­son and other protesters Wednes­day out­side the of­fices of Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell. Demon­stra­tions against re­peal­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act were held at sev­eral sen­a­tors’ of­fices, in­clud­ing those of Arkansas Repub­li­cans John Booz­man and Tom Cot­ton.

Cot­ton

Booz­man

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