Democratic congresswoman arrested during voting rights protest at Capitol

Joyce Beatty, chair of Congressional Black Caucus, was calling on the Senate to pass a key election reform bill

Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, a Democrat of Ohio, was one of nine people arrested during a voting rights protest at the Capitol this afternoon.

Beatty, who serves as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, shared a photo on Twitter of US Capitol police (USCP) officers putting a zip-tie on her and escorting her out of the building.

“Let the people vote. Fight for justice,” Beatty said in the tweet.

Let the people vote. Fight for justice.

— Joyce Beatty (@RepBeatty) July 15, 2021

The congresswoman had been participating in a protest calling on the Senate to pass the For the People Act, Democrats’ sweeping election reform bill.

The For the People Act passed the House in March, but it is being held up in the Senate because of a Republican filibuster.

Demands to amend the filibuster to pass the For the People Act, as well as the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, have intensified as Republicans have enacted voting restrictions across the country.

An NBC News reporter shared a video on Twitter of protesters, led by Beatty, entering the Capitol chanting, “End the filibuster!”

According to the USCP, officers arrived at the scene of the protest, in the Hart Senate office building, at approximately 3.30pm after “reports of illegal demonstration activity”.

“After officers arrived on the scene they warned the demonstrators three times to stop. Those who refused were arrested,” the USCP said in a statement.

The arresting officers then transferred two males and seven females to USCP headquarters for processing.

Beatty shared another tweet shortly after her arrest that said simply, “#GoodTrouble”. That phrase is a reference to a quotation from the late Democratic congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.

“You must find a way to get in the way and get in good trouble, necessary trouble,” Lewis said in a 2016 commencement address. “You have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate, when you leave here, to go out and seek justice for all. You can do it. You must do it.”

Lewis was arrested more than 40 times over the course of his life, mostly for protesting as part of the civil rights movement.


Joan E Greve

The GuardianTramp

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