Six kneeling, singing protestors were restrained and removed from a space just outside the doors of the Alabama Senate Thursday morning. The protestors were blocking the Senate chamber doors in protest of Alabama’s tough immigration law, known as HB56. Two Alabama state senators later joined the protestors and asked to removed along with the protestors. No charges were filed.
A video live-streamed on the internet shows the protestors kneeling with arms interlocked, praying and singing “Amazing Grace” and “This Little Light of Mine” while others tried — somewhat unsuccessfully — to move around them.
At one point, law officers removed a child from the arms of one of the protestors, Hope Hamilton-Schumacher, just before they began restraining the group. One source has told Weld that Hamilton-Schumacher’s husband was present to take care of the child.
The protestors were Hamilton-Schumacher, John Estes, Drew Statham, Salvatore Cerventes, Rev. Fred Hammond and Clemencia Robleso.
One of the protestors is heard shouting “Repeal HB56! Stop this pain of Alabama” while being cuffed with plastic zip tie cuff restraints.
Two Alabama Senators, Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) and Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery), joined the protest, kneeling with the handcuffed protestors.
“The State of Alabama is wrong by removing them,” Singleton said in the video. “This is the state of Alabama, and there’s a right for their voices to be heard, and we’ll stand here with them as long as their voices can be heard.”
“Take us out,” Singleton said. “We’re state senators. Take us out. If they’re wrong, we’re wrong. Take us out.”
“I want HB56 repealed,” Ross told members of the press. “We talk about families, keeping families together. You don’t need to destroy families. You need to give those individuals who are in this country who have contributed to the welfare and benefit to our country—they should be able to live here and peacefully assemble and state their cause, and that’s what they were doing here in the Alabama State House.”
Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brian Lyman reported that the protestors were released without charges.
UPDATE: CBS8 reporter Krista Littlefield found out that Salvador Cerventes, who described himself as the “only Mexican” in the group, was asked about his citizenship status while the other protestors were not.
“Most of the people were white people, and I was the only brown, the only Mexican, so they checked my status inside,” Cerventes told Littlefield.
Watch the video below or read the story here:
UPDATE: HB56 opponents tell why they chose civil disobedience: