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Activists swarm Senate offices to protest Republican health care bill; 155 arrested

Capitol Police officers drag away protestors inside Senate office buildings in Washington on July 19, 2017. (Photo: Sinclair Broadcast Group)

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Crowds of activists swarmed Senate offices Wednesday to protest the Republican Party's proposed plan to repeal Obamacare.

Lining hallways across Washington, participants staged multiple demonstrations looking to voice their dissatisfaction with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's intent to dismantle Obamacare without a replacement following the implosion of the Republican Party's latest Senate health care bill.

Over 300 constituents participated, according to a press release from the Center for Popular Democracy. Approximately 155 of those were arrested, Capitol Police said.

“By repealing the ACA, Republican Senators are doing the bidding of their billionaire donors, not the lives of the people who they represent," Jennifer Flynn, director of healthcare justice at the Center for Popular Democracy, said in a statement. "Republicans are so obsessed with repealing the ACA that they’re willing to leave millions without healthcare and let people suffer preventable deaths."

The National Physicians Alliance helped launch the protest.

"[The participants] believe taking away our health care goes against what we stand for in America," said one physician activist, Dr. Richard Bruno of Baltimore. "It would be a death sentence for those people who would like to get health care.

"No little child should die of cancer just because their parents were poor."

National Nurses United also aided in staging the demonstration.

“Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest effort, to follow up on the failure to pass a ‘replacement’ plan for the ACA by a straight repeal would cause grievous harm for tens of millions of people, with no plan to take its place, adding insult to injury,” Jean Ross, co-president of National Nurses United, said in a statement. “But even with the ACA, far too many people remain without any health coverage, or with unconscionable out of pocket costs for needed medical care."”

Capitol police arrested dozens of demonstrators within hours.


In McConnell's own office, protesters had implored the lawmaker to "put people first."

In Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina's office, activists -- including one whose father reportedly suffers from Parkinson's -- compelled the lawmaker to "disavow any notion of repeal" of the Affordable Care Act.

Another protester lay on the floor of one hallway, bearing a sign reading "you cut health care, you cut my life."

Near the office of Sen. Joni Ernst from Iowa, protesters shouted, "kill the bill, don't kill us!"

Outside Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado's office, activists brandished signs reading, "Medicare for all!"

Sen. Pat Toomey's, R- Pa., office also saw protesters lining the wall outside.

Though the activists were reportedly given multiple warnings by police, officers still made many arrests.

Video posted to social media portrayed people of all ages being led away by Capitol police with their hands behind their backs.

The event is the most recent of several similar protests against the GOP's effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

In June, more than 100 activists staged similar demonstrations at Senate offices to voice their disapproval for the Republican health care plan.

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