Today’s November 5 rally may have drawn as many as 20,000 protesters against the health care bill which will soon come up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an Americans for Prosperity representative. As I’m no crowd size estimator, I won’t even hazard a guess, but the panoramas below should give you an idea of how many people were there.
The crowd had a high energy level, chanting “Kill the Bill.” One remark by Mark Levin about the 2010 election released a tidal wave of “vote them out” chanting for several minutes.
And yes, Fox News got it wrong on today’s arrests. They write that
Christopher C. Hull, a senior vice president at public affairs firm Hill & Knowlton, said the protesters were clearly turning to a more mainstream tactic in seeking to kill the bill.
“The reality is if you want to defeat a piece of legislation, protests alone aren’t enough,” he said, calling the meetings with lawmakers a “smart tactic” that could lend some more legitimacy and effectiveness to the rebel movement.
Some of the protesters, though, were not quite as courteous. Nine protesters were arrested by Sen. Joe Lieberman’s office for unlawful entry, according to U.S. Capitol Police. And speakers at Thursday’s rally laced their rhetoric with heated references to “socialism” and “radical” policies.
“Whether they can actually defeat the piece of legislation or not, that’s anybody’s guess,” Hull said…
Actually, The Hill is reporting that the 9 arrested protestors at Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) office were from Code Pink–which has a long history of incarceration and misconduct around D.C.–and other public option supporters. (Code Pink interrupted the Gen. Petraeus hearing, for starters. “Earlier Thursday, police arrested nine protesters near Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I-Conn.) office. They were part of a larger group composed of about two dozen protesters from activist groups Code Pink, Voters for Peace and Mobilization for Healthcare for All,” write Molly Kooper and Tony Romm. “The group was demanding that Lieberman refuse to accept any more campaign money from insurance companies.”
Here’s a pic of Code Pink’s rag-tag rally counter-protest.
Some pro-life attendees did get arrested outside of Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office, not Lieberman’s.
ABC’s Rick Klein writes that another group of 100 pro-public option protestors faced off with 100 rally attendees:
An [sic] protest of about 100 people supporting universal care – including some familiar faces from Lieberman’s office earlier today – was already ongoing at Pelosi’s office when a new group of about 100 people who oppose the bill showed up.
Specifically, the new group of protesters is concerned that the health reform bill will put tax dollars toward abortions.
Among the protesters against a health reform bill was Randall Terry, founder of the anti-abortion rights group Operation Rescue.
Terry said one of the protesters who was arrested is Father Norman Weslin, a priest from Indiana. Weslin laid down in front of Pelosi’s door until a group of police officers picked him up and carried him away.
Up to four protesters (it wasn’t clear from which group) were arrested when they started ripping up pages from the bill in the hallway….”
Father Weslin, who is pro-life, was arrested at Notre Dame University earlier this year, far from the first time.
Here’s a excerpted video of the altercation from Randall Terry. He alleges that the Code Pink protestors were not arrested outside of Pelosi’s office, but it appears from the video that the only ones besides Father Weslin who were removed had been tearing up papers and polluting the hallway.
A photo gallery follows:
Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.