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Abortion rights activists arrested after climbing construction crane, unfurling banner to protest Roe v. Wade reversal

The two activists are calling on President Biden to take 'decisive action' to save lives and protect a women's right to an abortion.

WASHINGTON — Six abortion rights activists were arrested Tuesday afternoon after they spent hours protesting the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade at a construction site in D.C. The protesters, associated with the Women's March, came to D.C. from multiple states to demand that President Joe Biden do more to protect reproductive rights, including scaling a crane during morning rush hour to unfurl a banner with their message. 

At least 10 states in the United States immediately banned abortion on Friday in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, dividing the nation between jurisdictions where the procedure is legal and where it is banned.

Tuesday's protesters traveled from Michigan, Texas and Florida, with four members of the group slipping past fences to climb the 130-foot crane at North Capitol and T Streets NE. One other protester chained himself inside the crane's ladder and a sixth stayed on the ground. 

Credit: WUSA9

"We're going to continue to put on pressure," said Rachel O'Leary Carmona, the Women's March executive director. "We are hearing very loud and clear from our base that this is a beginning. They want continued escalation. And we intend to meet that moment with escalation."

When police arrived, they used bolt cutters to remove the man chained inside the ladder, while the four on the crane eventually agreed to come down. They said they are expecting to charge the protesters with unlawful entry, and potentially other charges. 

The crane's owner says the protest forced him to idle 250 people working on a new building for the nonprofit "So Others Might Eat." 

"I don't give a damn, I just don't know why they got to pick my crane," Brett McMahan said. 

McMahan said in construction,  if you don't work your eight-hour shift, you don't get paid, meaning some of his crew missed out om upward of $2,000 for the day. 

Carmona said she hopes to continue their fight until women's right to an abortion is fully restored. 

"We have entered a new era of American politics, one in which a constitutional right has been rolled back in a deeply undemocratic process," she said. 

The Metropolitan Police Department released a list of names for the protesters Tuesday evening:

  • 27-year-old Christopher Litchfield, of College Park, MD
  • 34-year-old Sean Hendley, of Northwest, DC
  • 37-year-old Rachel Kijewski, of Lake Worth, FL
  • 34-year-old Elizabeth Chiaravalli, of West Bloomfield, MI
  • 28-year-old Tytianna Harris, of Albuquerque, NM
  • 42-year-old Julie Farris, of Akron, OH

Last week, an abortion rights demonstrator scaled the Frederick Douglass Bridge on the same day the Supreme Court decided to strike down Roe v. Wade and flew a yellow flag and green banner.

Guido Reichstadter was down on Saturday afternoon after staying on top of the bridge for more than 24 hours. According to court documents, Reichstadter was arrested and charged with obstructing, crowding, and failure to obey

He was released on his own recognizance, but a judge ordered him to stay away from the Supreme Court and the bridge. 

RELATED: Abortion-rights demonstrator who climbed Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge after Roe v. Wade reversal comes down, roads reopen

RELATED: Advocates on both sides of the abortion rights issue map out next steps

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