As Capitol Building goes dark, protests light up

A small group gathered at the West Front of the Capitol to hold up these glow-in-the-dark letters. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON – As the sun set on the first full day of the federal shutdown, there was a glow-in-the-dark protest Tuesday night at the Capitol Building.

A group gathered at the West Front carrying light-up letters that spelled in large capital letters: PINK SLIP CONGRESS.

They raised their voices in chants of, “Congress, do your job” and, “Remember, remember, you’ll pay in November.”

“Federal workers don’t know when they’re going to get a paycheck, don’t know when they’re going to get their jobs back and meanwhile Congress is paying itself,” said Medea Benjamin with Code Pink, one of the groups that organized the event aimed at lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

“We’re here to say you’re getting perks, you’re getting paid, and you’re supposed to be doing something for the public, and what you’re doing now is making the public ashamed of you,” she added.

Protestors shouted to tourists that had gathered to see the Capitol building at night. One protestor yelled “Sorry we’re closed,” while another joked “There is no panda, no panda for you,” a reference to the closure of the National Zoo.

Tuesday’s protest was small, but Benjamin is promising more, larger protests every day the shutdown continues.

“If they don’t fix this quickly, if the lights don’t turn back on in the next day or two, we’re going to have a lot of people outside here.”

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