Capitol Police arrest DC mayor at rally against budget deal

Capitol Police arrested dozens of protesters conducting a rally on Capitol Hill against Washington, D.C.-related riders in the new 2011 budget deal.

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, Council Chairman Kwame Brown, Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser and Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells were among the 41 people who were arrested after protesters blocked Constitution Avenue. 

Capitol Police said all of the arrested protesters were charged with unlawful assembly. 

Police moved in with two wagons and began hauling protesters away around 5:50 p.m. Protesters had begun to organize a sit-in across Constitution Avenue when Capitol Police made arrests at 5:30 p.m.

Organized by the voting-rights group DC Vote, the rally aimed to send a message to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and President Obama: Don’t “sacrifice” the rights of D.C. residents to get a deal on the budget. 

“Clearly, both our opponents and friends think D.C. is weak,” the group said in a statement Monday. “Neither thinks we are strong enough to fight back against oppression.” 

“We may not have legislative power, but we have the power of the people, and D.C. residents refuse to be treated like second-class citizens,” it added. “D.C. is not weak. Tonight, we are going to fight back.”

Norton publicly chastised Republicans recently for pushing for a policy rider that would stop local taxpayer funds from paying for abortions in the District. A second rider would revive a voucher program, pushed by Boehner, that Gray has said is being “foisted” on the District.

“District residents are being treated as colonists of the Congress of the United States. We are absolutely outraged. This is the functional equivalent of bombing innocent civilians,” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) told WTTG-TV Thursday. "It’s time that the District of Columbia told the Congress to go straight to hell.”

- Last updated at 7:31.

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