DISABLED PROTESTERS REMAIN BEHIND BARS AFTER ARRESTS
Arrests made Thursday at Gardner’s Denver office
A vigil was held Thursday, continuing into Friday, in solidarity with the 10 protesters who were arrested during a sit-in at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s office.
Protesters held a vigil outside the downtown Denver jail Thursday night, continuing into Friday, in solidarity with the 10 protesters who were arrested during a sit-in at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s office.
Those holding vigil said they would be there until everyone was released, which is the standard practice with ADAPT, the group that organized the sit-in.
The Denver Sheriff Department confirmed that at least eight of the protesters remained behind bars Friday. One of the protesters, Carrie Ann Lucas, has a ventilator and was instead taken to a hospital and released.
The protesters — most with disabilities — were arrested in the Republican senator’s Denver office Thursday, two days after they began a sit-in to demand that he pledge to oppose the Senate’s current plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Rather go to jail than to die without Medicaid!” protesters, some in wheelchairs or lying on the floor, chanted while Denver police ordered them to leave and then hauled them away.
The protesters still behind bars early Friday night included Lonnie Smith, Jordan Sibayan, Robin Stephens, Dawn Russell, Jacqueline Mitchell, Dawn Howard and two others, according to a Denver Sheriff Department spokesman. Many were charged with trespass and interfering with police. They are being represented by Denver attorney David Lane.
Protesters initially took over Gardner’s waiting room Tuesday when the office opened at 9:30 a.m. Nine protesters stayed the night Tuesday, turning it into what resembled a dorm room with blankets and food. Eight more spent the night Wednesday. Nine were intending to spend the night again Thursday before police moved in and arrested the demonstrators.
The action was organized by ADAPT, a Colorado-born organization that works nationally to promote disability rights. Protesters said they want Gardner to commit to protect Medicaid spending, including assistedliving services that help many people with ability issues live independently. Advocates say those services would be cut in the proposed Senate health care bill, which the group wants Gardner to oppose.
Disabled protesters and supporters chat with fellow activist Carrie Ann Lucas, left, at the Denver jail Friday while waiting for the release of at least eight protesters.