A group of pro-Green New Deal protesters marched inside Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) office demanding to speak with the senator. After they refused to leave, several of them were arrested.
Who are the protesters?
The protesters were affiliated with the Sunrise Movement, a group that seeks to mobilize young people to be politically active in support of the Green New Deal, a piece of legislation pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) that includes proposals to "upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency."
According to its official set of guidelines for "adult/elder allies," the group is "focused primary on organizing young people: ~35 and younger."
This is the same group that confronted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in her office Friday. In that case, the children were recorded asking her to support the Green New Deal. Feinstein told the children that this was "not a good resolution" and that there was "no way to pay for it."
An edited version of this video resulted in Feinstein being criticized for the way she dealt with child protesters.
What happened Monday?
The Sunrise Movement tweeted video clips from the confrontation in McConnell's office Monday. According to the group's Twitter account, these young people were from McConnell's home state of Kentucky and had been "looking for him in KY last week." When McConnell never showed up for the Kentucky protest, the Sunrise Movement announced that they would be holding another protest on Feb. 25 in D.C.
Once they were inside McConnell's D.C. office, the protesters began singing and chanting slogans including, "which side are you on?" They carried signs demanding that McConnell "look us in the eyes," slamming him as #OilMoneyMitch.
Singing in #OilMoneyMitch's DC office: which side are you on? Ask all of Congress to stand with our generation by… https://t.co/w5UUEd8aqc— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅) 1551112467.0
UPDATE: 39 young people were arrested at #OilMoneyMitch's DC office today. All were fighting for #GreenNewDeal and… https://t.co/vJRC1Wn4Dw— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅) 1551117956.0
At some point, the protesters were escorted out of the building by the U.S. Capitol Police. According to the Sunrise Institute, "39 young people were arrested" during the protest. Although it didn't give out the total number for all the protesters in attendance, the group retweeted a Politico reporter who put the number at "[m]ore than 100."
Podcast host Paul Ingrassia tweeted video of the protesters singing as they were being led out of the Capitol.
HAPPENING NOW: People from the far-left Sunrise Movement protest at the Russell Senate Office for the Green New Dea… https://t.co/BOf0eNGSj4— Paul Ingrassia (@Paul Ingrassia) 1551113527.0
McConnell wants a vote on the deal the protesters were promoting
McConnell has actually been fast-tracking the Green New Deal through the Senate so that it can be put up for a vote. Of course, this is likely because McConnell realizes that Feinstein and Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refuse to support the bill. Forcing Democrats to vote on it would likely cause divisions within the Democratic Party while having little chance of actually passing.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), who co-sponsored the legislation along with Ocasio-Cortez, called McConnell's push for a vote a "Republican trick" meant to "sabotage" the deal.
These protests aren't over yet. The group said that its supporters would be visiting the district offices of U.S. senators "from all corners of the country" on Tuesday. A map on their website shows more than 50 events planned for that day.