PHOENIX — Nine people were arrested during a demonstration against voter suppression on Thursday morning.
At around 11:30 a.m., the demonstration entered the roadway at Central Avenue and Palm Lane. The protestors were blocking northbound traffic, police said.
The demonstrators were told individually and over the loudspeaker that they needed to stop blocking the street, police said. The light rail had to be shut down and traffic was halted for about 30 minutes.
Nine people out of the more than 75 were arrested after continuing against officer orders, police said.
In a press release from demonstration organizers, the event was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's support of two voter restriction laws.
On July 1, the court rejected the idea that showing that a state law disproportionately affects minority voters is enough to prove a violation of law.
In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the court was weakening the federal voting rights law for the second time in eight years.
"What is tragic here is that the Court has (yet again) rewritten — in order to weaken — a statute that stands as a monument to America’s greatness, and protects against its basest impulses. What is tragic is that the Court has damaged a statute designed to bring about ‘the end of discrimination in voting.’ I respectfully dissent,” Kagan wrote, joined by the other two liberal justices.
Although Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the conservative majority that the state's interest in the integrity of elections justified the measures.
"We are telling Mark Brnovich, our Attorney General, that we will not just sit by and watch as our rights are stripped away. We deserve real national voting rights legislation and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen,” said Joshua Wells, a community organizer.
The Attorney General's Office Spokesperson Katie Conner released the following statement about the protest:
“As a champion of the constitution, General Brnovich recognizes the right of the people to peacefully protest. We hope everyone will learn more about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming Arizona is appropriately protecting the right to vote and the integrity of election results. We want to thank the incredible officers at Phoenix Police Department and our AGO agents for their professionalism today.”
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