Forty-three Capitol demonstrators were arrested Wednesday after they and hundreds of others crowded around the rotunda chanting protests against proposed cuts to homecare services for those with disabilities or special needs.
A small cadre of California Highway Patrol officers escorted the protesters from the scene, ending a loud demonstration organized by the Service Employees International Union, which represents workers who provide in-home support services.
During the lengthy union protest, demonstrators shouted chants loud enough to be heard through much of the Capitol, including, “Jerry Brown — shame on you!” and “hey, hey, ho, ho — budget cuts have got to go!”
Violators were cited and released on two misdemeanors — demonstrating without a permit and obstructing or interfering with the use of state property, CHP Officer Sean Kennedy said.
Officers removed the offenders without incident, escorting them to a nearby committee room, where they were detained briefly. Those who came to the Capitol planning to be arrested for civil disobedience wore red armbands.
As CHP warned protesters to disperse, Bonita Munoz, a 56-year-old Sacramento caregiver, told the crowd that she was willing to be arrested for the cause – “to save the cuts from our clients, so our clients won’t be homeless.”
Charles Myers, a 49-year-old Sacramentan who suffers from cerebral palsy and chronic arthritis, said that “I need my homecare. If I don’t have homecare, what would I do?”
The Legislature is expected to close a multibillion-dollar shortfall by adopting a new state budget Friday.
Photo caption: California Highway Patrol officers arrest Arminda Sanchez, of Napa, at the state Capitol as she and a group of IHSS workers and clients where arrested while protesting in the Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. Photo and video by Hector Amezcua
* Updated at 4:25 p.m. with a firm count of arrestees, 43, and confirmation that they were cited for two misdemeanors.