Hartford police arrested 35 protesters outside of the Abraham A. Ribicoff Federal Building and Courthouse Monday. The demonstrators challenged federal immigration policies and chanted “abolish ICE.” ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- a unit of the United States Department of Homeland Security that oversees the removal of undocumented immigrants.
While the protest happened outside, the Ribicoff building went into lockdown. Many of those arrested were hauled away because they had blocked the entrance to the facility, which houses a local ICE office.
“I have a lot of privilege and this is how I need to use my privilege to stand up for the people who are in prison that don’t belong in prison right now,” said Lisa Loomis-Davern of Middletown.
Loomis-Davern was removed by police shortly after she spoke to Connecticut Public Radio.
While the Hartford demonstration protested the local actions of ICE, many also wanted to keep attention focused on what’s happening on the southern border. More than 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their families since the Trump administration began enforcing a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy in April.
Kathryn Olawaiye, a college student living in East Hartford, held up a sign that read “no families in cages.”
“Brown people should not be mass-deported, treated unequally because of the color of their skin, or xenophobia and stuff like that,” Olawaiye said. “All of us here together today are trying to bring light to that and to help bring an end to these human rights violations.”
The majority of those arrested were charged with breach of peace and trespass.