While many monuments have been closed due to the shutdown, the National Park Service granted a permit to the immigration protesters on First Amendment grounds. The rally began on the Mall with musical performances and speeches from politicians, labor leaders and others before the march to the Capitol. Julian Bond, the former NAACP chairman from Atlanta, was among the scheduled speakers.
Lewis, the former head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, has advocated for a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, saying the issue is related to the civil rights fights he has waged for more than 50 years.
His 40 arrests during the movement included brutal beatings, but Tuesday’s scene was pre-planned and almost friendly. One U.S. Capitol Police officer shook hands with Lewis and the other members as officers circled to begin the arrests.
The members’ personal effects were taken away in plastic bags before they were loaded into police vans.
The official charge for Lewis’ growing rap sheet: “Crowding, Obstructing, and Incommoding,” under D.C. Code 22-1307.