More than 70 protesters stood outside of the Capitol on Monday holding signs that read, “Texas workers deserve paid sick time” and “Ban fracking now.”
The rally was one of nearly three dozen events scheduled to occur nationwide for the “National Call for Moral Revival.” The campaign mirrors the Poor People’s Campaign launched by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. It has been reaching out to communities across the nation over the past two years.
About 60 of the protesters chanted and walked over to the William B. Travis State Building. Once inside, they risked arrest to continue their chants for health insurance and against new oil and gas permits. People popped out of their offices to see what was happening. No one disrupted the protesters.
Minutes later, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers arrived. Some protesters left to avoid the possibility of arrest, but about 40 stayed.
Some took a seat, while others stood, joined hands and sang.
“We are not afraid of what is going to happen,” said Martha Mercado, 24, the Texas tri-chair for the Poor People’s Campaign. “We are ready to push forward this campaign.”
The troopers asked the protesters to move away from the doorway, advising them that they would be arrested. At least seven were handcuffed and escorted away. Three were from Austin, two from Houston, one from Dallas and one from Waco.
“We came here in peace,” Mercado said.