Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal was among almost 575 women arrested Thursday during a sit-in on Capitol Hill, as part of what organizers called a "mass act of disobedience" to show their frustration with the Trump administration's immigration policies.
Democratic lawmaker Pramila Jayapal said she was among those arrested "who took over the center of the Hart Senate Building protesting the inhumane and cruel zero-tolerance policy of Donald Trump and this administration".
The rally was organized by the Women's March and the Center for Popular Democracy. Kamala Harris, spoke.Protesters chanted slogans on their way to the Capitol, including, "No hate, no fear". Most of the protesters were female.
The nationwide day of protest was originally created to protest President Donald Trump's policy of separating parents from their children as they awaited prosecution after crossing into the US illegally.
Jayapal has also helped organise "Families Belong Together" protests set for Saturday, with demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and other cities across the nation. Gillibrand said, adding the protests were an "amazing" act of defiance against the Trump administration.
The protest began in the streets of DC before moving to the Hart building, one of three Senate office buildings. They also called for the termination of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a drastic demand that would have been unthinkable several months earlier. The police said those arrested were being released after they were processed.
Daily images are still emerging of distraught immigrant children separated from parents and not yet reunited, despite an executive order last week ending the policy of summarily tearing families apart and arresting the adults after anyone is caught crossing the border illegally. As they passed by the Trump International Hotel, the protesters yelled "Shame" and "Where are the children?". They said people who were charged and fined could pay 24 hours after their arrests, but it was not clear who had been fined and how much.
Loretta Fudoli took a bus to Washington from Conway, Arkansas, to join Thursday's protest.
"I decided that I, too, would sit down with them and submit to arrest", Jayapal said. Celebrities including Susan Sarandon were among the group of protestors.