Seven activists were arrested by Phoenix police today during protests of SB 1070 outside of the federal courthouse, where hearings were under way on the law's validity.
The arrested were part of a protest involving about 50 people at the corner of 4th Avenue and Washington. Protesters banged drums, held signs and yelled slogans as several dozen observers and members of the media took pictures. Six of them held a bedsheet with an anti-1070 message in the middle of the intersection, and wouldn't clear out when asked to do so by police.
Just after 3 p.m., we asked a plainclothes cop why so many officers in helmets had formed a square around the six protesters with the sheet. "They're possibly going to take action," he replied.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, the officers began handcuffing the protesters with the sheet one by one, leading them off to a paddy-wagon.
See below for video of the arrests.
A woman in the crowd said an officer told her the protesters would be charged with obstructing a public road; police haven't released an official statement about the arrests.
The Arizona Republic listed their names, and also reported that police arrested a seventh unidentified man.
Overall, the protest (which went on as a federal judge held a hearing about 1070 inside the building) was peaceful.
A few activists supporting 1070 mingled with the larger, anti-1070 crowd -- and no one got beaten up. Of course, one reason for that could have been that one of the pro-1070 activists was wearing a silver revolver in a black holster on her hip. (Another factor could have been overwhelming police presence).
For info about the hearing, check out Steve Lemons' blog, Feathered Bastard, later this evening.
Here are some videos we shot at the protest:
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