We've been following the growing controversy in Virginia regarding HB1, the so-called "personhood" bill, and SB 484, which requires women to undergo an invasive ultrasound if they are seeking an abortion. These pieces of legislation are drawing national attention, even in the current pervasive climate of assault on women's rights, and on Saturday, March 3 in Richmond, Virginia, citizens took to the capitol steps to protest. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, hundreds showed up to participate in the rally, but things took a sour turn when state troopers, then riot police, hit the scene. 31 people were arrested for trespassing and unlawful assembly charges. A video of the protest shows people being physically carried off the capitol steps as onlookers, who vacated the steps after warnings from police, shout things like: "Women's rights are under attack. What do we do? Stand up! Fight back!"
Of those arrested, some maintain that the treatment they received while in custody bordered on inhumane. Reports of a six-hour wait in handcuffs without food or water are proliferating in the local news. One of the event's organizers, Brandon Nastanski, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he considers the protest a success. "We sent the clear message to the legislators and Gov. [Bob] McDonnell that we will not accept these laws now, next year or ever," he said.