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Rep. Hank Johnson is arrested on Capitol Hill during protest over voting rights

Rep. Hank Johnson has been arrested on Capitol Hill during a protest over voting rights, just one week after the detention of fellow Black Caucus member Joyce Beatty.

The Democratic congressman, 66, was cuffed with zip ties by Capitol police officers outside the Hart Senate Office Building Thursday where he and other voting rights advocates had gathered for Black Voters Matter’s ‘Brothers Day of Action’.

The protest, led by black men, called on Congress to end the filibuster and pass the For the People Act. 

Police said 10 people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating outside of the Hart Senate Office Building and were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding. 

Johnson is the second House Democrat taken into custody for taking part in voting rights protests in as many weeks after Beatty was arrested on July 15. 

Rep. Hank Johnson was arrested on Capitol Hill during a protest over voting rights Thursday

The Democratic congressman, 66, was cuffed with zip ties by Capitol police officers outside the Hart Senate Office Building Thursday

The Democratic congressman, 66, was cuffed with zip ties by Capitol police officers outside the Hart Senate Office Building Thursday

Rep. Hank Johnson, Co-founder of Black Voters Matter Cliff Albright, The Rev. Mark Thompson, host of podcast Make It Plain, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and former President of NAACP Cornell William Brooks are seen being arrested (left to right)

Rep. Hank Johnson, Co-founder of Black Voters Matter Cliff Albright, The Rev. Mark Thompson, host of podcast Make It Plain, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and former President of NAACP Cornell William Brooks are seen being arrested (left to right)

Johnson posted footage of his arrest on Twitter showing him with his hands restrained behind his back while still chanting: ‘Whose streets? Our streets. Whose House? Our House.’

He tweeted that he was channeling the spirit of late Congressman John Lewis by getting into ‘good trouble.’ 

‘I was arrested today protesting against Senate inaction on voting rights legislation & filibuster reform,’ Johnson wrote on Twitter. 

‘In the spirit of my dear friend and mentor — the late Congressman John Lewis — I was getting in #goodtrouble.’

Johnson’s office said in a statement that he was arrested ‘along with a group of Black male voting rights activists protesting against Senate inaction on voting rights legislation and filibuster reform.’

He also attended the rally to protest against voter suppression bills and laws throughout the county, including Georgia, that target students, the elderly, and people of color,’ his office told CNN.  

Johnson had given a speech at the rally outside of the Supreme Court before the group marched to the Senate office building where they chanted outside the entrance.  

Johnson tweeted that he was channeling the spirit of late Congressman John Lewis by getting into 'good trouble'

Johnson tweeted that he was channeling the spirit of late Congressman John Lewis by getting into ‘good trouble’

Other members of the Congressional Black Caucus including Democratic Reps. Al Green, Jamaal Bowman, Emanuel Cleaver, Troy Carter and Jackson Lee also attended the rally.  

Among the other nine arrested were the cofounder of Black Voters Matter co-founder Cliff Albright, The Rev. Mark Thompson, host of podcast Make It Plain, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and former President of NAACP Cornell William Brooks. 

Robinson told CNN his arrest was ‘worth the risk to use our power to demand voting rights protections for Black people, and all communities, in our country.’

He also hit out at Congress for promising to restore voting rights access and protect black voters during the elections, saying ‘more than six months into this administration, we’ve yet to see real, meaningful action on voting rights.’  

Johnson and other voting rights advocates had gathered for Black Voters Matter's 'Brothers Day of Action'

Johnson and other voting rights advocates had gathered for Black Voters Matter’s ‘Brothers Day of Action’

Johnson (center) and Cliff Albright (right) co-founder of Black Voters Matter, are arrested

Johnson (center) and Cliff Albright (right) co-founder of Black Voters Matter, are arrested

The protest, led by black men, called on Congress to end the filibuster and pass the For the People Act

The protest, led by black men, called on Congress to end the filibuster and pass the For the People Act

Police said 10 people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating outside of the Hart Senate Office Building and were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding. Pictured Albright, Robinson, Brooks and founding partner of Davis Bozeman Law Firm Mawuli Mel Davis being arrested

Police said 10 people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating outside of the Hart Senate Office Building and were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding. Pictured Albright, Robinson, Brooks and founding partner of Davis Bozeman Law Firm Mawuli Mel Davis being arrested

Last week, Beatty was arrested during a black women-led voting rights protest when she led activists on a march inside the Senate Hart Office Building.

Eight other activists, including Women’s March co-founders Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory, were also taken into custody for ‘demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol Grounds.’ 

Following her arrest, Beatty said in a statement that she ‘stand[s] in solidarity with black women and allies across the country in defense of our constitutional right to vote.’ 

She added: ‘We have come too far and fought too hard to see everything systematically dismantled and restricted by those who wish to silence us. 

‘Be assured that this is just the beginning. This is our Power, our message.’  

The congresswoman then tweeted: ‘You can arrest me. You can’t stop me. You can’t silence me.’ 

Thursday’s protest was a follow-up to the rally last week with both calling on Congress to pass the For the People Act.

Last week, Joyce Beatty was arrested during a black women-led voting rights protest when she led activists on a march inside the Senate Hart Office Building

Last week, Joyce Beatty was arrested during a black women-led voting rights protest when she led activists on a march inside the Senate Hart Office Building

Beatty and eight other activists were taken into custody for 'demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol Grounds'

Beatty and eight other activists were taken into custody for ‘demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol Grounds’

The bill expands and protects voting rights across America by banning partisan gerrymandering, making voting easier and trying to make political donations more transparent.

The For the People act passed in the House in March on a near-party line as voting rights has increasingly become a partisan issue. 

The bill has stalled after it was blocked by Republicans in the Senate in June. 

The Senate filibuster means a 60-vote majority is needed to pass the bill. 

Democrats say the For the People Act is needed to counter the raft of restrictive voting laws being implemented by Republicans in many states. 

A total of 18 states have tightened voting restrictions around the likes of postal voting and ID requirements.

Republicans say the tighter rules are needed to prevent election fraud.

Meanwhile, Democrats say the rules are designed suppress turnout and make it harder for minorities to vote. 

Joe Biden has condemned the changes to voting laws as a ‘threat to democracy’ and is urging Congress to pass the For the People Act.


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