Democratic Rep. Al Green of Texas was arrested in Washington, DC, on Tuesday while protesting outside the Supreme Court and the US Capitol building in an effort to protect the right to vote, the congressman told CNN.
“We came for the purpose of protesting the voting rights that are being suppressed across the country,” Green said in an interview. “This is pretty important, this right to vote,” he said, adding, “It’s so important for us to protest for the right to vote and protect it.”
The event marks the latest in a series of arrests of Democratic lawmakers at protests over voting rights in the nation’s Capitol. The other lawmakers include: Democratic Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, Hank Johnson, and Joyce Beatty, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Democrats are sounding the alarm over restrictive voting laws, but hit a roadblock in Congress when Senate Republicans blocked a sweeping voting and elections overhaul bill known as the “For the People Act” in June.
Green told CNN that he was protesting against efforts to pass restrictive voting laws at the state level, including in his home state of Texas, as well as the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down key parts of the landmark Voting Rights Act. And he said he hopes to see Congress take action to protect the right to vote.
“My hope is that we can provide some help by passing federal laws that will help prevent some of the things that may happen in Texas,” he said.
The Texas Democrat said that during the protest he went with others into the street to pray, at which point they were warned by law enforcement that if they did not move they would be arrested. He said that he remained in the street and was subsequently arrested by US Capitol Police along with two other individuals for blocking traffic.
“I am willing to suffer the consequences for the actions that I intentionally engaged in. It was a peaceful protest. The officers were very respectful. I was respectful of them, we were, all of us,” he said.
A spokesperson for the US Capitol Police told CNN in response to a request for comment, “three demonstrators were arrested for crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” on Tuesday.