Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson arrested during voting rights protest on Capitol Hill

Georgia U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, on the right, is arrested after participating in a voting rights demonstration outside a Senate office building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Tia Mitchell/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Tia Mitchell

Credit: Tia Mitchell

Georgia U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, on the right, is arrested after participating in a voting rights demonstration outside a Senate office building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Tia Mitchell/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

WASHINGTON — A member of Congress from Georgia was among several men arrested during a voting rights demonstration outside of a U.S. Senate office building Thursday afternoon.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Lithonia Democrat, was taken into custody along with at least eight others after U.S. Capitol Police warned that they were demonstrating without a permit and blocking the entrance to the building.

The men, participating in a voting rights protest organized by Black Voters Matter, locked arms and continued to chant and sing: “Hey hey, ho ho, the filibuster has got to go.”

Francys Johnson, the former head of the Georgia NAACP who is now affiliated with the New Georgia Project, was also among those taken into custody.

The demonstration began a couple of hours earlier in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when Johnson and several other speakers implored Congress to reform the filibuster in hopes of making it easier to pass two federal voting laws.

One, titled the For the People Act, is a wide-ranging proposal that would implement new standards for early voting and automatic voter registration, campaign finance transparency rules, limits to partisan gerrymandering and ethics guidelines for federal lawmakers. The second bill, which is named after Georgia Congressman John Lewis, would reinstate federal review of voting law changes in states with a history of discriminatory practices.

Johnson is the second U.S. House member in a week to be arrested after participating in a protest backing this legislation. On July 16, Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty was taken into custody after leading a protest inside the Hart Office Building.

After being processed by U.S. Capitol Police, the group arrested Thursday expected to post bail and be released.