Disabled demonstrators in wheelchairs were arrested in the U.S. Capitol today after confronting House leaders with demands for quick passage of legislation guaranteeing them civil rights protections.
A crowd of more than 100 demonstrators threatened civil disobedience and interrupted House Speaker Thomas S. Foley and House Republican Leader Bob Michel as the congressional leaders tried to speak over the din in the cavernous Capitol Rotunda.
After the congressmen left, about 70 of the people with disabilities assembled in the center of the Rotunda and began chanting in a planned attempt to provoke arrest. Capitol police, standing nearby, encircled the protesters and began taking them into custody.
Outside the Capitol, government-owned vans were lined up, and police began placing the protesters--most in wheelchairs--into the vehicles.