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Nearly 600 women arrested at immigration protests in Senate building

Women’s March protesters chanted “Abolish ICE.”

Women’s March Protests Family Detentions Of Undocumented Immigrants Win McNamee/Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

Hundreds of women staged a sit-in against family separation and detention Thursday in the Senate’s Hart Office Building. It followed a morning of protests and marching in DC from Freedom Plaza to the Department of Justice to Congress.

Getting ready to march to the Department of Justice to sit in #WomenDisobey #FamiliesBelongTogether

Posted by The Undercurrent on Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Women’s March organized the act of nonviolent civil disobedience with the Center for Popular Democracy Action and CASA in Action. The protesters draped themselves in silver thermal blankets — evoking images of migrant kids in shelters — and chanted “Abolish ICE” and “We care.”

Capitol Police said approximately 575 people had been arrested during the sit-in. The Women’s March said in a press release that a total of 630 women had been arrested.

The Women’s March, in planning this event, had asked women if they were ready to risk arrest. “Civil disobedience is a strategic intentional tactic,” Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the Women’s March, said last week. “We have to be helpful to the people we claim to fight with and for.”

The protesters were calling for the abolition of ICE — a new rallying cry on the left — and demanding an end to family separation and detention.

Lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) showed their support for the sit-in.

The Women’s March event began as protests erupt across the country in the wake of Trump’s family separation policy. The president signed an executive order changing that policy last week, but instead sought to detain families indefinitely.

Activists are putting pressure on the government to provide more information and speed up the family reunification process. More than 1,000 marched in Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday, pushing for family reunification and to stop jailing immigrants.

The Women’s March began Thursday morning with a march from Freedom Plaza to the Department of Justice, where protesters chanted outside the DOJ. From there, they headed to Congress for their act of civil disobedience.

Thousands are expected to take to the streets on Saturday, June 30, in Washington, DC, and hundreds of other cities across the country for a nationwide Families Belong Together Rally. Jess Morales Rocketto, the political director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance — one of the groups organizing the June 30 event — said people are recognizing that they can’t let up the pressure. “It’s not just one day,” Morales Rocketto said. “We’re seeing folks turn out over and over and over again.”

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