9 anti-poverty protesters arrested after blocking State Street Downtown

Nine people were arrested Monday after blocking traffic on State Street during a protest Downtown by the Ohio Poor People’s Campaign.

The protest was part of the fourth consecutive week of the organization’s actions advocating for legislation that better assists people in poverty, said Ohio Poor People’s Campaign co-chairman Larry Bresler.

Every Monday, activists have gathered for an hour-long rally at 2 p.m. outside the Statehouse to bring attention to poverty in Ohio and nationwide. Monday’s rally was followed by nine people sitting in the middle of State Street to bring attention to the lack of adequate healthcare for many Americans, Bresler said.

“It’s a very organized, very strategic effort to draw attention to the fact that we the people hire those people who make laws by voting them in,” Ohio Poor People’s Campaign co-chairwoman Susan Smith said. “We’re going to hold them accountable because we are tired of people being poor.”

The nine people volunteered to take part in the protest on the street knowing they would be arrested, Smith said.

“Part of nonviolent, direct action is the willingness to sacrifice your own freedom for the freedom of other people,” Smith said.

The group has two more weeks of rallies and actions planned Monday afternoons outside the Statehouse, leading up to a national rally in Washington, D.C., on June 23.

Originally published by The Columbus Dispatch on June 4, 2018.

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