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Story highlights

"Democracy Spring" activists arrested outside U.S. Capitol

Civil disobedience campaign is aimed at curbing influence of money in politics

(CNN) —  

More than 400 protesters staging a sit-in against the influence of money in politics and congressional inaction to reverse it were arrested on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Monday, the first day of what is expected to be a week-long series of demonstrations.

“More than 400 individuals have been arrested for unlawful demonstration activity, and are being processed using mass arrest procedures,” the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement early Monday evening. Those taken into custody will be charged with “crowding, obstructing and incommoding.”

Beginning on April 2 in Philadelphia, participants in the “Democracy Spring” campaign marched nearly 150 miles south to Washington, where the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) said on Monday that rallies and events have been scheduled through the weekend in an effort to “draw attention to our corrupt campaign finance system and rigged voting laws.”

PCCC co-founder Adam Green, one of dozens of liberal leaders taking part in the demonstrations, was among those arrested on Monday.

“Today, I join others in non-violent civil disobedience in order to help focus the nation’s conversation on these key democracy issues – and the public needs politicians to start acting now,” he said in a statement.

On its website and in press releases, “Democracy Spring” said “hundreds” have been arrested so far, and reports that 3,500 people from 33 different states have pledged to join the protests this week.

They are pushing for a series of legislative actions, including the passage of four bills aimed at reducing “the influence of money in politics” while seeking to “expand and protect voting rights.”