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
That my first visit to the Lincoln memorial in 48 years would bring tears was unexpected. Yet on a sunny September Sunday in 2012, at the feet of his massive marble likeness, staring solemnly upon the chiseled words of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, salty drops dot my face. There is poignancy simply in standing where I scampered a lifetime ago as an unknowing four-year-old. But, my tears this day are for something more immediate – at least for me. This moment, the text of our 16th President’s second inaugural speech, and especially his Gettysburg Address fall this day upon a heart Read on →
Number of people killed by gun violence in South Carolina from 2001 to 2010 alone: 5,991 Percent by which that exceeds all U.S. combat deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined: 15 Rank of South Carolina among all states for aggravated assaults with a firearm: 2 For the rate of women murdered by guns: 4 For the rate of law-enforcement officers feloniously killed with guns: 4 For gun homicides overall: 7 Percent by which South Carolina's rate of gun murders exceeds the national average: 39 Of 100 possible points on a curved grading system, number earned by South Carolina in the latest state gun law scorecard Read on →
I recognize some Americans still feel threatened by gay marriage. I don’t understand that fear, but I respect it. I also respectfully suggest if you believe gay marriage is about what happens in the bedroom, you really don’t understand marriage at all. I’m 55. I don’t remember my age when I first realized I had gay friends in high school. It’s certainly not something anyone was open about at the time. It wasn’t something we talked about. But, I remember the moment I knew it was wrong to deny two loving, committed people the same respect we give married couples solely because they are th Read on →
Recently a gunman walked into a church with intent to murder, cause mayhem and start a revolution against black people. Instead, his killing of nine church members brought people of all faiths and color together, finding even those closest to the people he shot to forgive him. God moves in mysterious ways. The rampage in Charleston, S.C., known as the Holy City, indeed turned the people of that city not toward recrimination and violence, but to love, grace and forgiveness. While shootings in other cities have turned into rioting and burnings of buildings, instead the people of Charleston saw another way. Their actions Read on →