WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Several hundred activists filled a U.S. Senate office building on Thursday with chants decrying U.S. President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” stance on illegal immigration, ignoring police demands to leave or face arrest.
The protesters, mostly women dressed in white, sat on the Hart Senate Office Building’s marbled floors and wrapped themselves in metallic silver blankets. The blankets appeared to be a reference to similar blankets given to migrant children in detention centers seen in widely circulated photographs.
“Say it loud, say it clear, immigrants are welcome here,” the crowd of about 500 protesters chanted.
“This is your final warning,” a member of the Capitol Police told the protesters. “If you don’t want to be arrested you need to leave.” Scores of Senate staff filled the upper mezzanine floors, staring at the commotion below.
Women’s March, a movement that began in the United States when Trump was inaugurated in 2017 and expanded internationally, had called on women to risk arrest at Thursday’s protest.
Before arriving at Capitol Hill, the protesters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, pausing to chant “Shame! Shame! Shame!” at the Trump International Hotel.
The Women’s March demonstration is part of a wave of actions against Trump, whose administration began seeking in May to prosecute all adults who cross the border without authorization.
Reporting by Makini Brice Writing by Bill Tarrant and Jonathan Allen; Editing by David Gregorio, Toni Reinhold