Democracy Spring Sit-In Protest Brings Hundreds To Capitol Steps : The Two-Way The Democracy Spring coalition of progressive groups called on legislators to replace caps on campaign donations, fix the Voting Rights Act and end gerrymandering. At least 400 were arrested.
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Hundreds Protesting Political System Arrested On Capitol's Steps

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Hundreds Protesting Political System Arrested On Capitol's Steps

Hundreds Protesting Political System Arrested On Capitol's Steps

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Two very different views of money in politics were in the news yesterday. On this program, we heard from David Bossie. He's the guy whose lawsuit led to a Supreme Court ruling that eliminated some limits on political spending.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

DAVID BOSSIE: Our victory was good for anyone across the political spectrum, not just conservatives. And of course, we didn't go to the Supreme Court to allow corporations to be able to participate in the political process. It's an outcome.

INSKEEP: An outcome many protesters here in Washington, D.C. did not like. Two progressive coalitions called Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening began a week of demonstrations yesterday. They took their places in front of the capital until police arrested more than 400. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: The hundreds of protesters arrived with banners, posters and a megaphone. They sat down at the foot of the capital steps.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Whose democracy?

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Our democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Whose government?

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Our government.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Whose country?

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Our country.

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Whose house?

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Our house.

OVERBY: They were from Democracy Spring, a coalition demanding that the Congress deal with three issues - the influence of corporations and the wealthy in politics, new restrictions on voting rights and the gerrymandering that gives scores of House members safe seats. Neither chamber was in session during the protest. And of course, the odds of Congress dealing with these issues is just about nil. Democracy Spring's strategy is to strip away the Washington-insider nuance and cast the issues in stark terms. Kai Newkirk, one of the organizers, spoke to the protesters before the demonstration.

KAI NEWKIRK: To every member of Congress, to every candidate for any office in our country, they must decide. Will you stand on the side of the people, on the side of democracy, or on the side of big money and corruption?

OVERBY: Democracy Spring planned to protest every day this week. The Democracy Awakening coalition comes in at the weekend, with more civil disobedience planned for next Monday. Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington.

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