Dozens arrested after disability advocates protest at McConnell's office

Dozens arrested after disability advocates protest at McConnell's office

Dozens of people protested the newly proposed Republican health care legislation outside the Capitol Hill office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Thursday - a demonstration that resulted in the arrests of many disability advocates.

One protester said he's with the disability rights group ADAPT. "They were literally carried from the space out to a separate area".

Alison Barkoff, protest organizer and director of advocacy for the Center for Public Representation, told CNN, "This is a tax cut to the wealthiest Americans on the backs of people with disability". She said they were later reunited with their wheelchairs. They called their protest a "die-in".

ADAPT's statement also noted that the protest took place on the 18th anniversary ofOlmstead v. L.C. - the Supreme Court decision that recognized disabled people's right to live in communities rather than institutions.

The protests erupted after Senate Republican leaders released their 142-page discussion draft of a health care bill, triggering a series of legislative steps with one goal - repeal and replace Democratic President Barack Obama's 7-year-old law.

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Citizens nationwide were offended by both the process surrounding the creation of the bill and the contents of the bill itself.

Some of the protesters were in wheelchairs.

Halvorson, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, says she did not resist arresting officers because she uses a breathing machine and did not want to risk her health. Custodians also had to be sent to the hallway in order to clean up blood, according to Daily Beast reporter Andrew Desiderio.

Some of the protesters were yelling "no cuts to Medicaid" as they were being led away by police.

Capitol Police say those arrested were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, which means inconveniencing or disturbing others. Instead of having their voices heard, they had their free speech stymied and were physically injured.

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