The first of the more than 30 people arrested yesterday at the Virginia State Capitol were arraigned on Monday, March 5 at 9 am, at the Manchester Courthouse, 900 Hull St. on South Side. Another group will be arraigned at 9 am on Friday, March 16. The Defenders are urging everyone who can to please attend these hearings as they are scheduled and support these courageous champions of women's rights.
These folks, most of them women, were part of a rally and march of around 1,000 people protesting the arch-reactionary bills now being promoted in the General Assembly, including but not limited to the bill that would force women to have - and pay for - an ultrasound exam before being able to get an abortion.
The 30-plus people were arrested while peacefully sitting on the steps of the Virginia State Capitol. Though they were nonviolent and made no threat of violence, the police showed up ready for war. There were Capitol police, state troopers in full riot gear and cops in green fatigues with automatic weapons. Those arrested were herded onto police buses and driven to the 9th Street lock-up. The men were processed first and released within a relatively short time. Most of the charges seem to be trespassing and unlawful assembly.
The cops reserved their vindictiveness for the women, who were kept on their bus for from five to nine hours, handcuffed. Some of the women suffered wrist injuries because of the tightness of the cuffs. For all this time they were givenno water and no toilet breaks. One woman had to relieve herself at the back of the bus. After many complaints, the cops finally put a bucket on the bus and told the women to use that as a toilet. This information comes from several interviews I did today with some of the women who were on the bus.
The way these brave people were treated, especially the women, is an outrage and demands a strong response from all those who believe in freedom and justice. Please try to attend the arraignments. And please call the office of Gov. Robert McDonnell and tell him how you feel about this outrage, the latest in a long line being carried out against 99% of Virginians by the racist, sexist and thoroughly anti-working-class 1%.
DefendersLIVE Radio will host two of the women arrested to talk about what happens and what this anti-woman legislation could mean for all of us: Monday, March 12 at Noon on 97.3 LP WRIR FM Richmond. Streamed live on WRIR.org and restreamed on Tuesdays at 11am and 1pm.