TPM/Christina Bellantoni—U.S. Capitol Police arrested 10 people this afternoon after the Capitol Hill Tea Party crowd stormed Congressional office buildings.
Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, public information office for the Capitol Police, told TPMDC the arrests happened in the Cannon House building as tea partiers attempted to protest Speaker Nancy Pelosi about health care.
They were charged with unlawful entry (entering a Congressional office and refusing to leave when told to do so) and/or disorderly conduct (yelling in the hallway outside an office) at Room 235 in the Cannon House Office Building.
Room 235 is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office for district business, not where she conducts her duties as Speaker. That’s handled at an office in the Capitol building.
TPMDC happened upon a crowd that formed around two police vans as the protesters were prepared for “transporting,” according to one officer there.
Without those official details, protesters in the crowd watching the arrests were furious. They shouted “Let them go!” and one man yelled at the police that “Martin Luther King” was being dishonored and shouted “Letter from Birmingham Jail!”
One woman told officers they were “shameful.”
“This is America, this is not the Soviet Union,” one woman said.
Like a bad game of telephone, the crowd spread rumors without anyone having witnessed exactly what happened.
Several people said the group had been arrested for praying. Others said the group was arrested for ripping up pages from the nearly 2,000-page health care bill.
To show support for them, members of the crowd started ripping up their pages from the bill, which rally organizers had handed out for the purpose of reading them to members of Congress.
Unruly Crowd Sings God Bless America as Capitol Police Arrest Tea Partiers for Unlawful Entry
Here’s a video recorded by TPM’s Christina Bellantoni, of the Capitol Hill Tea Party crowd singing “God Bless America” in protest of the arrests of several of their compatriots, who were charged with illegally entering or disrupting the office that handles Speaker Nancy’s Pelosi’s duties as a Representative from California:
The Storming Of Capitol Hill
Photos by Christina Bellantoni and Jeff Malet