District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray and top City Council officials were arrested Monday during a protest outside of Hart Senate Office Building at Capitol Hill. Gray and about 300 others were protesting the limits placed on city funds.
Last week, House Republicans and President Barack Obama reached a deal on the budget. The more than $1 trillion budget will include $40 billion cuts in domestic and foreign aid appropriations, but will also displease those in DC.
According to the Washington Post, approximately 300 people protested outside of Capitol Hill at the Hart Senate Office Building. The protestors, which included activists, city officials, Capitol Hill staffers and concerned citizens, are upset over the budget deal passed by Congress because it restricts the freedom of the city to spend its money.
Two of the measures in the budget deal include banning the District from spending its own local money to allow low-income women undergo abortions, notes Politico. The other is reauthorizing a school voucher program that the city recently cut, reports Fox News.
Hart Senate Office Building
CNN reports that at least 41 one people were arrested by U.S. Capitol Police after allowing them to sit in the street for about 30 minutes and chanting: “No justice, no peace,” “Free D.C.” and “We can’t take it no more.” Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said they are being charged with unlawful assembly.
Those arrested are: Mayor Gray, Council Members Yvette Alexander, Sekou Biddle, Michael Brown, Muriel Bowser, Tommy Wells and Council Chairman Kwame Brown.
Three hours before his arrest, Gray posted a message on his Twitter account: “I am calling on all residents of DC to join us NOW at the Hart Senate Office Building to stand for our freedom!” One hour later, he posted: “Getting arrested on the Hill for DC autonomy.”
His latest post urged MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to “cover this story of DC leaders standing up for self-determination and women's rights.”
The mayor is on bail right now, thanks to his daughter who paid $50.
The city is home to thousands of federal government employees, but it does not have a vote in Congress. The city submits its financial projections and plans to Congress and then Congressmen and Senators have the final vote on the budget.