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This is Bob McDonnell's Virginia: The Virginia state capitol was the scene of an enormous women's rights protest. A peaceful protest, with young, old, and everything in between, men and women alike. The overreaction by the police was appalling and shows the extent to which the Republican party is willing to use police power to suppress peaceful dissent.
The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports:
Thirty-one women's-rights demonstrators were arrested this afternoon in a protest at the state Capitol that drew hundreds of protesters and Virginia State Police in riot gear.
Capt. Raymond Goodloe of the Virginia Division of Capitol Police
said 17 women and 14 men were arrested. He did not have a breakdown on charges but said those arrested were likely accused of either trespassing or unalawful assembly.
The arrests took place after some protesters, who had marched on downtown streets before entering Capitol Square, refused to leave the south steps of the Capitol. They were hauled off by officers and taken away in a bus parked nearby while other armed officers held protesters at bay with riot shields.
The demonstration came after the General Assembly approved hotly disputed legislation that requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion.
The Washington Post reports:
The group had a permit to rally at the Bell Tower on Capitol Square earlier in the day, but Goodloe (The Virginia Capitol Police Captain) said rallies are not allowed on the Capitol steps. The group had planned to march to the Executive Mansion where Gov. Bob McDonnell lives after the rally.
Another report from the Washington Post, or rather a Washington Post fail. This is the headline:
"More than 30 arrested at abortion rally in Richmond"
What the hell is an abortion rally?!?
An update from the Richmond-Times Dispatch:
Del. Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond, tonight spoke out against the arrests of 31 women's rights demonstrators in a protest at the state Capitol earlier today that drew Virginia State Police in riot gear.
She said the arrests "are just the latest example of government overreach that we’ve seen in recent weeks."
"The men and women who marched on Capitol Square have a right to peacefully protest without the threat that they will be arrested for exercising that right," McQuinn said in a news release. "At several recent women’s rights events, there has been an overabundance of police presence. In fact, the Capitol Police tactical team has been at all of the events," she said.
McQuinn said she had "never seen a similar police presence when guns rights advocates assemble on Capitol Square on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday."
McQuinn called the arrests "a sad reminder that our progress towards equality for all Virginians has not been achieved.”
Much, much more at Daily Kos - including more videos, photos and details from a Virginia blogger. Interesting note, that Washington Post headline fail that I mentioned? It seems that was an attempt to correct the original headline! Info on that at Kos as well.