Wheelchair Protest Forces RNC Building Lockdown

Posted April 29, 2008 at 4:03pm

More than 100 protesters gathered on Tuesday afternoon at Republican National Committee headquarters, forcing police to put the building on lockdown.

Meanwhile, others congregated at the office of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), blocking access to the Congressional suite, which is located in the Russell Senate Office Building.

At least 21 protesters have been arrested throughout the day, according to Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider.

The protest is being led by the disability advocacy group ADAPT, and many of the protesters are in wheelchairs. The group strung up banners and yellow tape around the RNC building on First Street Southeast, urging McCain to support the Community Choice Act, which would give individuals who are eligible for nursing home services or similar care greater access to community-based health services.

A handful of protesters even managed to get inside the RNC building, while others blocked its entrance. In McCain’s office, several protesters in wheelchairs sat in the suite’s lobby, shouting phrases such as, “I’d rather go to jail than die in a nursing home.”

Both the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police responded to the ADAPT protest, Schneider said.

— Elizabeth Brotherton