On Saturday afternoon, the area around the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., once again filled up with demonstrators protesting the court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that allowed for legal access to abortion across the country.
As abortion rights activists fanned out their numbers across the U.S., the plaza around the nation’s court was flooded for the second day with thousands of demonstrators who came to the nation’s capital to make their voice heard. Opponents of abortion rights were also present for a second day, but were outnumbered.
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WTOP’s Dick Uliano was at SCOTUS on Saturday and spoke to abortion rights activists about what’s next.
Erin Connelly of D.C., who was 37-weeks pregnant, said she wants elected leaders to restore abortion rights nationwide.
Uliano also spoke to Renee Bracey Sherman with the group We Testify about alternatives for women who are legally barred from receiving abortions in their state.
Throughout Saturday, the actions of protesters ranged from passionate to enraged. Two protesters were arrested in the District Saturday afternoon after allegedly throwing paint over the fence meant to protect the Supreme Court from demonstrations, according to the U.S. Capitol Police.
The abortion rights group “Our Rights DC” announced they would be protesting in the neighborhood of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s on Saturday night.
Anticipating the court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden signed a bi-partisan bill earlier in June that gave 24-hr security protection for Supreme Court justices and their families.
The protection bill was rushed through congress eight days after a man carrying a gun, knife and zip ties was arrested near the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s and threatened to kill the justice. According to police, the man had called 911 on himself, telling the operator he had suicidal thoughts and was armed with a gun.
Earlier on Saturday afternoon, 42-year-old Guido Reichstadter, the man who had scaled D.C.’s Douglass Bridge on Friday to protest the court’s ruling, finally descended from the bridge he had occupied for most of Friday and the overnight, having used his banner as a makeshift tent.
I stayed on the bridge last night. There’s a hatch up here I can crawl down any time, but my batteries still have charge and there’s more to do up here. I wrapped up in the green banner against the cold and slept . pic.twitter.com/bVCIc1Hxnj
— Guido Reichstadter (@GuidoReichstad1) June 25, 2022
When reaching the ground, Reichstader, who is from Miami, Florida, was promptly arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department and charged with Unlawful Entry, Crowding and Obstructing, and Failure to Obey Police.
In another sphere of D.C., politicians both lamented and gloated upon the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling.
On Twitter, Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren referred to the justices who overturned Roe v. Wade as “extremists”.
If the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade feels like a personal attack, it’s because it is. Extremists are trying to send us back to the days when women had no control over our own bodies and our own futures. But I’ve got news for them: we still have the power to fight back.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 25, 2022
Meanwhile, Republican Senator John Cornyn from Texas spent most of his Saturday doing damage control after he responded to a Tweet by former President Barack Obama by comparing the abortion debate to Brown v. Board of Education, the 1952 SCOTUS case that decided racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.
Now do Plessy vs Ferguson/Brown vs Board of Education. https://t.co/hrUYCcIq8Y
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) June 25, 2022
As protests at SCOTUS began to ramp up on Saturday afternoon, it was in stark contrast to the early morning in D.C., where all that was left of the preceding day’s protests were a handful of signs leftover with litter along the streets.
Though police officers were present for protests throughout the day and night, WTOP’s Alejandro Alvarez reported that there were no known arrests Friday. The rally ended Friday night before 11 p.m. and the crowd dispersed, WTOP’s news partners at NBC Washington reported.
The situation was different in Arizona, where SWAT team members fired tear gas from the second floor of Phoenix’s Capitol building to disperse protesters, some of whom were reportedly banging on the doors of the Senate building. Arizona authorities said there were no injuries or arrests.
WTOP’s Jessica Kronzer, Luke Lukert and Alejandro Alvarez contributed to this report.