Police arrested the president of the NAACP for trespassing Monday after he and a group of activists staged a six-hour sit in at the district office of a Virginia congressman.
Cornell Williams Brooks, the president of the NAACP, and a group of about 20 activists, sat outside the congressman’s office for six hours, reports NBC News. Brooks, along with Roanoke NAACP Chapter President Brenda Hale and members of the NAACP Youth Council sat outside Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s office to protest the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
The group refused to leave untilGoodlatte promised to restore the Voting Rights Act. The protest marked the 51st anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the act into a law. The VRA prevented states from not allowing blacks and other groups from being able to vote. In 2013, the Supreme Court overturned part of the VRA and allowed states to change the laws for local elections without needing federal approval.
“It is time for Congressman Goodlatte and Congress to honor the demonstrations of the past, and these demonstrations today to stop this widespread abuse. The congressman’s refusal to act for three years is insulting to these young men and women who want to exercise their basic rights under the Constitution,” Brooks said in a press release.
Protesters were asked to leave around 5 p.m. when the office closed and were given many chances to do so. All protesters but Brooks and a NAACP member, Stephen Green, left the office. Both men were arrested for trespassing and taken to a magistrate.
They were released a little while afterwards.
Goodlatte said in a statement that he believes that the VRA is “alive and well.”
“While the Supreme Court struck down the old coverage formula that required certain states to preclear their voting rule changes with the federal government, the Court left in place other important tools in the Voting Rights Act,” he said.
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