WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police have arrested more than 30 protesters outside the Supreme Court on charges related to blocking traffic on Constitution Avenue.
USCP said 33 protesters were arrested after multiple warnings for violating DC Code by "crowding, obstructing or incommoding in an area where protesting is prohibited."
"We have given the demonstrators three warnings and are now arresting them for violating DC Code § 22–1307- Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding in an area where protesting is prohibited," USCP tweeted in a thread about the protests. "This does not affect the lawful demonstrators who are in front of the U.S. Supreme Court."
The protests occurred as justices hear one of the biggest challenges to abortion rights in decades. Oral arguments in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization case from Mississippi, where state officials hope to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in an effort to overturn Roe vs. Wade, began in the Supreme Court Wednesday morning.
Both pro-choice and pro-life groups gathered outside the Supreme Court building hours before the historic arguments began, hoping to make their voices heard.
The Metropolitan Police Department and US Capitol Police told WUSA9 on Tuesday that officers would be monitoring the situation and planning accordingly with federal law enforcement teams.
"There will be rallies. There will be protests. There are people coming in from all over the country," said Kristin Mink, the organizer for Center for Popular Democracy Action. "It is risking arrest. It is an act of civil disobedience. It’s important that folks' voices are heard.”
Mink said Tuesday that protesters planned to refuse to leave in front of the Supreme Court building.
Mink told WUSA9 that she was affected by the issue personally after she took abortion pills between her first and second child after finding out her baby was not viable. She called the Mississippi case the "most direct challenge to Roe v. Wade" and one that would impact lives all across the country.
"If I had not been able to access abortion, my life would be very different right now and I would not have the two children that I do today. My own health would have been at risk potentially," she said. "That is what allowed me to stay healthy myself and it’s what allowed me to try for our second child who we have now.”