Arrests made at another Poor People’s Campaign protest in downtown Topeka
photo by: Peter Hancock
TOPEKA — Topeka police arrested about a dozen protesters on the city’s main downtown thoroughfare Tuesday after they blocked traffic for about an hour during a demonstration that they refer to as the “Poor People’s Campaign.”
It was the third time in as many weeks that the same group of protesters has engaged in civil disobedience actions that have resulted in arrests.
On May 21, about 18 protesters were arrested after they occupied a room in Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office. And a week earlier, others were arrested following a protest outside the offices of the Kansas Chamber.
The demonstrations are part of a six-week campaign being waged in about 36 state capitals around the country that is intended to raise awareness about issues of poverty, racism and civil rights in the United States.
Tuesday’s protest focused on what the demonstrators called an increasing “militarization” of American society. During a rally outside the Statehouse that preceded the street sit-in, speakers denounced the federal government for spending too much on the military and not enough on education and anti-poverty programs.
They called for an end to U.S. military aggression around the world; an end to privatizing military functions; strengthening the Department of Veterans Affairs; tighter gun control laws, including a ban on assault weapons; and a halt to efforts to build a wall spanning the U.S.-Mexico border.
Police said those who were arrested would be charged with violating a city ordinance that prohibits blocking a public thoroughfare.