A protest against President Donald Trump's immigration policies led to the arrest of hundreds of women on Thursday. Among those arrested, was Indian-American congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who was asked to speak at the demonstration in Washington DC.
As per the Capitol Police, a total of 575 protestors were arrested and charged for the 'illegal demonstration' that was essentially a morning march by the women through the streets of Washington DC.
The women were charged and subsequently released at the demonstration at the Hart Building of the US Senate, as per Eva Malecki, a spokesperson for the US Capitol Police.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was issued with a $50 fine for "crowding, obstructing, or incommoding". It was Jayapal's third arrest at a protest, the other two occurring years before her 2016 election to Congress.
I just got arrested with a group of at least 500 women who took over the center of the Hart Senate building protesting the inhumane and cruel policies of 'zero tolerance', the separation of families," said Democratic House Representative Pramila Jayapal, adding that "we have to stand up", and that she was "proud of being arrested with them".
"I decided that I, too, would sit down with them and submit to arrest," Jayapal said. "We chanted and sang and talked about the need to reunite these families and to end the President's zero-tolerance policy" she added in an interview with the Seattle Times.
Jayapal has also helped organise "Families Belong Together" protests set for Saturday, with demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and other cities across the nation.
A longtime immigration-rights leader who founded OneAmerica before running for elected office, Jayapal said she has been outraged and unable to sleep over Trump's "zero tolerance" prosecutions of people crossing the US-Mexico border.
The civil disobedience was a reaction to the Trump administration's crackdown at the US-Mexico border, including separation of thousands of children from their parents in recent months.
The Trump Administration launched the so-called "zero tolerance" policy last April, which considers illegal border crossing as a criminal offense, meaning that immigrant minors will be separated from their families.
Last week, Donald Trump penned an executive order to end family separations at the border due to severe backlash and harsh criticism from multiple sections of the society and around the world.
A US federal judge from California recently ordered the Trump administration to reunite the separated immigrant families. Since then, the US government has reunited 538 children with their relatives, but more than 2,000 minors still remain separated, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.
[With inputs from IANS]