WASHINGTON, D.C. (NNPA)–In an act of civil disobedience, Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent C. Gray, and six members of the District’s City Council were arrested April 11 by the U.S. Capitol Police for protesting the highly publicized congressional budget deal. According to District officials, this budget violated the rights of the city’s residents to autonomy and self-determination.

Mayor Gray and the City Councilmembers were arrested for blocking Constitution Avenue, a major thoroughfare near the U.S. Senate office buildings. Throughout the ordeal, Gray encouraged all residents of the District of Columbia to stand up and take actions aimed at bringing about the end of this long-standing injustice against the District. He urged District residents to educate friends, family members and neighbors on the issues facing the nation’s Capital.

BLOCKING TRAFFIC—Shown here blocking Constitution Avenue prior to their arrest are Council Chairman Kwame Brown, Councilmember Michael Brown, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Councilmember Tommy Wells and Councilmember Yvette Alexander. (NNPA Photo/Lateef Mangum)

During the protest, the Mayor stated, “This is an absolute travesty. D.C. deserves to be free. All we want to do is spend our own money.”

In speaking about the congressional riders on a bill that would impose restrictions on the reproductive rights of poor women and force the city to spend money on school voucher programs, Gray said, “Why should women in the District of Columbia be subjected to a set of rules that no other women are subjected to?”

Gray added, “If we want a school voucher program, we should choose it ourselves.”

After his initial arrest, Gray was held more than five hours before being released on bail by the U.S. Capitol Police. He says he will continue and amplify his quest for autonomy for the District of Columbia.

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