We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
War on Peaceful Protest
Your Body Under Arrest: Police in Riot Gear Remove Peaceful Women’s Rights Protestors in Virginia
You might think that the right wing in this country was getting the message that women will no longer stand for legal, verbal, and physical abuse and harassment, especially by elected officials. You would especially think that would be the case in Virginia where former Vice Presidential aspirant Governor Bob McDonnell, who is contemplating signing into law a forced ultrasound bill after doing women a “favor” and taking out the forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds initially required, has been widely pilloried. You would also think the right-wing would be cautious after a week in which the seemingly untouchable Rush Limbaugh has, as of this writing, lost seven corporate sponsors over his debasing remarks about Sandra Fluke.
But you would be wrong.
Because, you see, women in this country are so dangerous, their sense of entitlement as citizens so incredibly threatening to the peace of the republic that state police in riot gear were sent to remove peaceful protestors this past weekend. According to a news article in the Richmond independent news source Style Weekly:
“About a thousand women’s rights protestors descended on the state Capitol Saturday afternoon to protest anti-abortion legislation in the General Assembly, and then things got ugly,” reports Style Weekly’s Vernal Colman.
“About 20 State Police officers, many in swat gear with face shields and body armor, were called in to assist Capitol Police in controlling the crowd. Some of the State Police officers wore green camouflage and carried rifles and canisters of tear gas (no tear gas was used, however). After being warned to vacate the south steps of the Capitol, police officers arrested 31 people — 14 men and 17 women — on charges ranging from unlawful assembly to trespassing, according to Capitol Police.”
The rally ended a raucous two weeks in the statehouse, with anti-abortion legislation generating national headlines in a Republican-controlled General Assembly. While legislation granting unborn children “personhood” status was shelved until next year and a bill requiring invasive, transvaginal ultrasounds prior to abortions was watered down at the request of Gov. Bob McDonnell, women’s rights protestors descended onto Capitol Square nonetheless.
Colman continues: Organizers for the event, Speak Loudly With Silence, say that an estimated 1,000 people participated in the rally, which also involved members of the Occupy Richmond movement.”
Claire Tuite says that the arrests were not planned. When the protestors emerged on the Capitol, some made an “autonomous decision” to “occupy” the steps of the Capitol building.”
“This was a peaceful protest on taxpayer-funded property,” Tuite says. “We have every right to be here.”
Josh Kadrich, one of the organizers, says a small group broke off from the larger crowd of protestors, determined to make it to the steps. They blew by the cops standing on the steps leading towards the capitol. Others joined in. “Eventually, there were around 400 people sitting on the steps of the capitol in silence to protect women’s rights,” Kadrich says.
Then State Police, many officers in riot gear, showed up. The protestors were asked to leave and given a countdown as to when the police would begin making arrests. Some complied peacefully. Others locked arms and resisted.
Colman writes: “Molly Vice, press liaison for the group, says the arrests “shames lawmakers for passing regressive legislation that usurps the good judgment of women on their own health care for the state’s.
“It’s an outrage,” she says of the ultrasound bill. “We’re here … to tell truth to power that infringing on women’s health is not okay. Not this year or the next.”
For more photos from the rally, visit Style’s facebook page.
Apparently, Virginia’s state legislators and governor can occupy your body and your uterus, but you can’t occupy your state capitol.
- Editor's note: This story first appeared March 5, 2012 at RH Reality Check and is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Well, He Hands You A Nickel, He Hands You A Dime . . . Such was the way Maggie's brother treated workers in Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm," but Charles Oscar Finley doled out considerably more to the Beatles in 1964: $150,000. Charles Oscar Finley longed to be adored, if not loved, though he acted despicably at times. He considered himself a self-made man and expected other men to meet his standards, even as those standards shifted wildly. In the mid-1940s, flat on his back with tuberculosis, Finley envisioned ways to make a fortune in the health insurance business. All Finley had Read on →
In a class on Dante I'm currently enrolled in, Professor Frank Ambrosio of Georgetown University quoted the nineteenth century philosopher Friedric Nietzsche that human beings, as far as we know, are the only animals who make promises. I only add that humans are also the sole ones who break them. According to Ambrosio, Nietzsche puts the significance of human promising and its place with regard to freedom this way: "In man, nature set itself the task to breed an animal worthy of making promises." It's an extraordinary idea. What is it that allows an animal that lives in the here and now to Read on →
How does that happen? Mostly, it's the result of a mixture of hubris and inadvertence. Humans, stuck on themselves, think they know it all. Others are convinced "all it takes is the idea" (the ExxonMobil slogan) and, as it was in the beginning, man says the word and nature is obedient. Fortunately, the age of electronics has made it possible to virtually eliminate inadvertence. We can look ahead and simulate what will happen, if we repeat the mistakes of the past. That's what James Holland is doing with the various projects at Cannon's Point in the marshes on the coast of Read on →
Summary: Americans think the nation is heading in the wrong direction. My biggest worries are 1) that our democracy is increasingly being transformed by the influence of big money into a plutocracy, and 2) we are failing to act vigorously to address the pressing emergency of global climate change. On both issues, the Republicans are playing a darkly destructive role, while the Democrats are failing to press the battle with the necessary vigor. That pattern reveals the essential core of America's national crisis. *******Are you, like me, unhappy about where you sense our nation is heading? Do you, like me, fear Read on →