Protesters interrupt House eight times in closing budget debate

Protesters in the House gallery interrupted members eight times during closing debate on the FY 2012 budget resolution, closing out a hectic day as the House tried to pass a budget for the coming year.

Capitol Police removed some protesters from the House chamber and arrested nine individuals, according to Sgt. Kimberly Schneider of the Capitol Police. They have been charged with unlawful conduct for a disruption of Congress, Schneider said.

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It is not yet clear what the demonstrators were protesting, but Capitol Police said the demonstrations in the House were related to an altercation at a demonstration earlier Friday near the Capitol on the 200 block of Second Street NE, in which three other protesters were detained.

Those individuals were charged with disorderly conduct, according to Capitol Police. All twelve protesters are being processed at CP headquarters, authorities said.

According to witnesses, several protesters interrupted debate in the House by singing "The Star Spangled Banner." 

One individual chanted, “We shall overcome,” as the demonstrators were led out and handcuffed in the hallway outside the chamber, according to a witness.

The protesters interrupted Democrats and Republicans alike.

One interruption came as House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) spoke. Six other interruptions happened as House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) spoke, and one more while Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) was speaking.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) reminded the House that members have the option of clearing the entire gallery during debate, and the House appeared to be considering that move as of about 1:20 p.m. However, after a delay of about six minutes, the House continued with closing remarks.

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