Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, six members of the D.C. City Council and several citizens were handcuffed and carried away by the Capitol Police Monday night for sitting in the street during a rally near the Dirksen Senate Office Building. They were among 41 people who were held in a Capitol Police facility for seven hours.
The group, which included about 200 people, was protesting the continuing resolution deal that President Obama, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner brokered last Friday because it prohibits the District from spending its own money to provide abortions to low-income women and expands a private school voucher program.
“This is an absolute travesty. D.C. deserves to be free. All we want to do is spend our own money,” Gray said during the protest. He strongly objects to the government’s subjecting women in Washington to a rule that women in other states are not subjected to and believes that the city should be able to decide whether it wants a voucher program.
District leaders and residents have grown increasingly impatient with the government’s oversight of the city and taxation without representation, since residents must pay federal taxes even though they don’t have representation in Congress. In fact, when House Republicans gained control in January, they stripped D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of her right to vote in committee.
“The CR invited and deserved today’s strong reaction from residents, Norton said in a statement released by her office. “The continued presence of local elected leaders and residents just showing up, even with less dramatic responses, will be necessary in the coming months.”
Norton believes that if residents don’t share their outrage with congressional lawmakers, they will see more policy riders that will further dilute or eliminate their rights.
(Photo: BARBARA L. SALISBURY/The Washington Times/Landov)