Police allegedly force reporters to delete photos, video after protesters disrupt Senate healthcare vote

Photos via @JStein_Vox/Twitter Photo via CSPAN

The protesters were reportedly handcuffed afterwards.

Protesters chanted at lawmakers on Tuesday shortly before they voted on a procedural motion to begin repealing the Affordable Care Act.

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asked for a vote to proceed on the controversial healthcare related procedure, protesters loudly chanted “kill the bill, don’t kill us!” and “shame!” at the lawmakers, prompting the sergeant at arms to “restore order in the chamber.”

The vote was to begin debate on repealing, and possibly replacing, the nation’s current healthcare law. The Affordable Care Act has seen a recent surge in popularity as efforts to remove it by Republicans have intensified.

As the Senate narrowly voted to pass the motion, the healthcare protesters were handcuffed and removed from the hallway outside of the Senate chamber, according to reporters on the scene. The same reporters, however, were allegedly told to not take photos of the protesters and delete any videos they had taken.

Anyone, including reporters, has the right to take photographs or video in a public area as long as they are not interfering with police work. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) quickly responded to reports of police forcing reporters to delete their photos and videos: “Police may not delete photographs without a warrant, period.”

As those protests were going on in the Senate gallery, “several hundred” protesters made their voices heard at the nearby Hart Senate Office Building.

Capitol police arrested more than two dozen protesters involved in the action in the Senate gallery, according to Think Progress.

While hundreds of Americans were protesting the bill, President Donald Trump congratulated the Senators for narrowly passing the vote after Vice President Mike Pence broke the 50-50 tie.

It is not yet clear what the Republican-led healthcare legislation will include nor how it will affect Americans and the U.S. healthcare system. Lawmakers are crafting the legislation on the fly through the amendment process. Debate on the legislation will continue for 20 hours.

Activists and Democrats are urging voters to call the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and contact their senators to voice opposition to the legislation—whatever it may ultimately be.

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).