Hundreds of voting rights demonstrators took to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Monday afternoon and were hoping to be arrested. Many of them got what they wanted.
The group, Democracy Spring, is staging a weeklong sit-in at the U.S. Capitol, calling for votes on legislation to reform the public campaign finance system.
Protesters said Congress needs to act to protect the voting rights of every American. More than 3,600 people from across the country pledged to risk arrest if their demands were not met.
“This movement should be unstoppable, because the vast majority of Americans already want it to succeed,” said Robert Schaff, a protester with Democracy Spring. “We just need to give the hope that it can succeed so that we can muster the strength, so that we can overcome the special interests that are blocking reform.”
The demonstrators also protested state voter ID laws, saying the laws suppress voter participation. One chant protested Democratic "superdelegates" — party figures, such as members of Congress, who are given votes at the Democratic National Convention but are not elected by primary elections or at party caucuses.
Police led dozens of protesters away in plastic handcuffs into a bus and shuttle vans, prompting cheers from the protesters, who were separated by police response.
U.S. Capitol Police said Monday evening that more than 400 people had been arrested for unlawful demonstration activity.
Many of the protesters had marched from Philadelphia to Washington over the past week.