Thousands of protesters and counter-protesters gathered this morning outside the Capitol building, where the Senate was set to vote on the Corporate Freedom Act–a bill that will remove most restrictions and regulations on corporations in America. The protests turned violent shortly after it was announced that the Senate had passed the bill, and the resulting chaos led to dozens of injuries and hundreds of arrests.
It was unclear where the violence started, but witnesses say it began when a man from the pro-CFA side began shouting at and prodding one of the protesters. The man was reportedly hit with a sign by a protester, and a short time later hundreds of bottles, wooden signs and other objects could be seen flying into the crowds from both directions. By the time riot police had the situation under control, at least 50 people required treatment for minor to moderate injuries, and over 300 people were in handcuffs.
“It was really scary,” said a woman who asked to remain anonymous. “People were throwing things, punching, shouting. I saw a guy right next to me get his head split open by a piece of two-by-four.”
The Metropolitan Police of D.C. planned for the protests to escalate and had riot teams standing by. Protests surrounding the Corporate Freedom Act have already led to similar situations across the country, most recently in November when police intervention at the Rally to Preserve Democracy in New York City led to riots that caused millions of dollars in damage to businesses and public property.
Much of the opposition for the bill comes from its removal of restrictions from corporate entities, which opponents say make it too easy for major corporations to escape any legal repercussions for ignoring laws, even when it results in harming US citizens. Supporters of the bill are calling it a return to the truly free market.
Pundits were skeptical of the fledgling Libertarian party’s ability to build support for the Corporate Freedom Act, but recent support from both Republicans, under the leadership of Senate majority leader Gil Acosta (R-FL), and the neoconservative fringes gave them the numbers to push the bill past opposition on the left.
The president is not expected to veto the bill, but Democrats will likely take it to the Supreme Court, where one of the most indecisive groups of justices in recent history will have to decide on the constitutionality of the bill.
More on the story at the Capitol as it unfolds.
Christi Webb, Bare Facts News