Four arrested during voting rights protest outside Sen. Hyde-Smith’s Gulfport office

Gulfport police officers, U.S. marshals and a homeland security officer walk to the federal...
Gulfport police officers, U.S. marshals and a homeland security officer walk to the federal courthouse in Gulfport on Tuesday to arrest protesters there.(WLOX)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 4:04 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Four people were arrested Monday afternoon as they protested at the federal courthouse in Gulfport.

The protestors were part of a group of a dozen people who came to the courthouse calling for the passage of the federal Voting Rights Act, a raise of the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and an end to the filibuster.

Protesters were from Mississippi Rising Coalition and the National Poor People’s Campaign.

The four who were eventually arrested went inside and asked to meet with someone in the senator’s office but were denied access and told they needed a permit to protest inside the building.

The four sat down in the lobby of the courthouse holding signs and singing protest songs as a dozen U.S. marshals looked on.

The protest was part of a nationwide effort to get U.S. senators to pass the voting rights bill passed by the House and to support an increase of the minimum wage. Because of the 50-50 partisan split in the Senate, the only way to pass those bills is to eliminate the filibuster.

Roughly a dozen Gulfport police officers and one homeland security officer responded. After about an hour of discussion, the four were taken into custody. Police took the four out the back of the courthouse away from cameras in the front of the building.

The four protestors arrested will be held on charges of trespassing.

In an e-mail from Sen. Hyde-Smith’s office, her stance on the issues were re-iterated. She stated that she feels that minimum wage is a state and local issue, not a federal issue. Her office also sent a press release from the June vote on the election reform bill, calling it a “blatant Democrat power grab.”

“We’re not just outside the offices of Smith and Wicker,” said Melissa Garriga, National Poor People’s Campaign Communications Associate. “We’re also outside the offices of Sinema in Arizona, Chuck Schumer. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing. This is a right and wrong thing. There is nothing more wrong than not passing and fully restoring the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Too much bloodshed was spilled to get that act passed, especially here in Mississippi, and it’s morally wrong to be against it.”

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