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Six Arrests in NAACP Protest of AG Nominee

Six protesters were arrested Tuesday after engaging in an NAACP-organized sit-in at the Mobile, Alabama office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions.

(CN) – Six protesters were arrested Tuesday after engaging in an NAACP-organized sit-in at the Mobile, Alabama, office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions.

The sit-in, which began on Tuesday morning, was orchestrated by the NAACP in protest of Sessions’ U.S. attorney general nomination by President-elect Donald Trump.

The November announcement of Sessions as possible attorney general was promptly met with pushback by a variety of civil rights organizations over his conservative record and alleged history of racism.

Sessions, who served previously as a U.S. attorney and Alabama attorney general, was nominated in the 1980s for a federal judgeship by then-President Ronald Reagan. That nomination was derailed over allegedly racist comments that Sessions made to a colleague.

In a Tweet on Tuesday, NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said that the group of protesters would continue to occupy the office until Sessions “withdraws as a AG nominee or we’re arrested.”

Brooks continued to live Tweet the protest from the floor of Sessions’ office, at one point saying “the police have just arrived. We are about to be arrested.”

The head of the Alabama NAACP, Bernard Simelton, was also among those protesting Sessions’ nomination. The six protesters who were arrested were reportedly arrested for criminal trespass.

Sessions, a Republican from Mobile, was first elected to the Senate in 1996. Known as a hardliner on immigration and vocal supporter of Trump, Sessions currently serves as the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration.

Sessions allegedly made racially insensitive statements to a colleague during his tenure as U.S. attorney in the early 1980s.

Among the more controversial statements attributed to Sessions was the assertion that he’d found the Ku Klux Klan to be “OK” until he learned that its members smoked marijuana. Sessions disputed the allegation, saying the comment was made in jest.

A spokesperson for Sessions, Sarah Flores, called the picture of Sessions being painted by protestors “false portrayals” and said that the charges against him had been “rebuked and discredited.”

According to a Dec. 30 statement by the Alabama NAACP, Tuesday’s sit-in was part of a statewide effort to protest Sessions’ nomination.

“Despite 30 years of our nation moving forward on inclusion and against hate, Jeff Sessions has failed to change his ways,” Simelton said in the statement. “He’s been a threat to desegregation and the Voting Rights Act and remains a threat to all of our civil rights, including the right to live without the fear of police brutality.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin its confirmation hearings for Sessions on Jan. 10.

Categories / Civil Rights, Government, Politics

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