More than 500 arrested as women protest US immigration policy
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More than 500 women including a member of Congress were arrested Thursday in the US Capitol complex protesting President Donald Trump's hardline immigration policy that has triggered thousands of family separations at the border with Mexico.
US Capitol Police said 575 people conducting a sit-down protest in the atrium of a Senate office building were charged with unlawfully demonstrating, then processed at the scene and released.
Many of those detained were singing and shouting slogans, and were clad in silver, mylar-style emergency blankets similar to those being provided to children in detention centers.
House Democrat Pramila Jayapal was among those arrested.
"I was just arrested with 500+ women and @womensmarch to say @realDonaldTrump's cruel zero-tolerance policy will not continue. Not in our country. Not in our name," she said on Twitter.
Actress Susan Sarandon said she too was arrested Thursday in Washington, where people had gathered in protest outside the Department of Justice.
"Arrested. Stay strong. Keep fighting. #WomenDisobey," the Hollywood star tweeted.
Protesters in the Hart Senate Office Building unfurled banners that read: "End all detention camps" and "Families belong together in freedom."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand posted video of the demonstration, saying the women were protesting "this inhumane policy by the Trump administration to separate families at the border."
Protesting to end family separation. pic.twitter.com/hA6enBRKuWKirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) 28 June 2018
Trump and Congress have struggled to resolve a crisis that has seen more than 2,000 children separated from their migrant parents since the administration announced a "zero-tolerance" border policy in early May.
The policy calls for strict adherence to laws that require that anyone caught crossing illegally be arrested and referred for prosecution.
Trump called a halt to the separations recently following an international outcry and criticism from Democrats as well as some Republicans, but Congress has failed to resolve the crisis and it has dragged on.
"What the administration is doing right now is morally wrong, it is inhumane and it has to stop," Gillibrand said.