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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    More than 900 of 'Democracy Spring' protesters arrested in D.C.

    More than 900 of 'Democracy Spring' protesters arrested in D.C.

    Jayne O'Donnell, USA TODAY
    5:26 p.m. EDT April 16, 2016

    (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)

    Police arrested hundreds of people protesting the influence of money in politics this week in Washington, D.C., but peaceful tangles with the officers were one of the group's main goals.

    U.S. Capitol Police
    arrested more than 900 protesters through Saturday afternoon. The mass demonstrations called "Democracy Spring" began Monday.

    Those arrested were charged with violating a D.C. statute prohibiting "crowding, obstructing, or incommoding," which are misdemeanors, said police spokeswoman Eva Malecki. All of those arrested were Democracy Spring-related participants. Most were processed and released on the scene.

    "The demonstrators have been orderly and respectful throughout the events," Malecki said.

    Actress Rosario Dawson said in a video posted on YouTube on Friday that the group hopes to surpass all previous Capitol protest records for number arrested, topping 1,000 by the time the week-long demonstration wraps up Monday.

    The Democracy Spring effort started in Philadelphia, where thousands began a 140-mile walk to the U.S. Capitol to "demand Congress take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice."

    Peaceful sit-ins were planned and more than 3,500 people pledged to risk arrest, the group said on its website.

    "This week, we're taking back our democracy," Dawson said. Money in politics has "distorted our politics and our issues." Police arrested the actress Friday on Capitol Hill for crowding and obstruction. She was briefly detained and will be required to pay a $50 fine like the others arrested, says Malecki.

    Harvard Law School professor and former Democratic presidential candidate Larry Lessig was arrested Friday — for the first time ever. "I'm a law professor," he said Saturday. "I don't get arrested."

    But he made an exception for the issue that he based his short-lived campaign on: Campaign finance reform.

    Harvard Law School professor and former 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig discusses campaign finance reform at the American Enterprise Institute November 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

    "I’m so incredibly excited with the kind of passion and the mix of people that were there," said Lessig, noting it's spread beyond the usual "law geeks and intellectuals" who rally around campaign finance reform.

    Many of the protesters, including Dawson, held up signs protesting the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in the so-called Citizens United case. The case opened the door for the rise of Super PACs — political action committees that can raise unlimited amounts from virtually any source — contributed to corporate influence in campaigns, critics say.

    Supporters of the activist group 'Democracy Spring,' which have been staging protests for a week at the U.S. Capitol to 'end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections,' gather for a rally on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, USA, 15 April 2016. (Photo: JIM LO SCALZO, EPA)

    Still, it's unlikely the group can achieve the kind of attention it desires — it aims to change the course of the 2016 presidential election. But some say the campaign season itself is giving much-needed attention to money in politics.

    "We're seeing it with the surprising support for Senator Sanders, who has made it a central part of his campaign, and when Trump says he can't be bought. That resonates with people who realize the system is rigged against them." said
    Wendell Potter, co-author of the new book Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It.

    Democracy Spring's protests in Washington could obscure the fact that people across the country are starting to fight the effects of corporate interests in local elections, Potter said.

    His cites changes made in Tallahassee, Fla., Seattle and in South Carolina, where lobbyists are now banned from making campaign donations.

    Democracy Spring protesters tend to be left-learning, but Potter said groups on the right, including Take Back Our Republic, share the "common concern about what's happened to our democracy."


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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2012
    At least this demonstration has a useful to all premise.

    To see some of the influence of $$$ in elections....

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