Chattanooga police arrested five Women’s March protesters after they blocked streets without a permit and would not move.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported the arrests Saturday.
Marchers walked across John Ross Bridge where several police officers ordered them to move, another vehicle charged at them, and organizers chanted and cursed through megaphones before being taken into police custody.
The group did not have a city permit because they did not want to pay the required cost for police to come to the event, according to an event organizer.
Jean-Marie Lawrence, the march’s chairperson, told News Channel 9 that the group planning the march was unable to get funding so the march part of the event would be legal, so it was changed to a rally. The costs were about $5,000, including charges for police pay but not including barriers. Lawrence uses a wheelchair and respirator so was unable to attend due to the rain.
Lawrence says the organization told participants that marching would not be authorized, but if they did march to obey traffic laws, News Channel 9 said. Those arrested were released, she told the TV station.
According to the Chattanooga event’s Facebook page, “The theme for the 2019 Chattanooga Women’s March is “WE Dissent” in honor of the work Ruth Bader Ginsburg has done to protect the rights of women, and to proclaim that we do not agree with the choices our government leaders are making.”
Meanwhile, the Washington, D.C. march, which started Saturday near Freedom Plaza blocks from the White House, drew thousands, far fewer than the hundreds of thousands who attended the first Women’s March, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Fox News reported.
This year’s Women’s March has been hurt by accusations of anti-Semitism around the group’s organizers, Fox News said. Two, Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian activist who has embraced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and Tamika Mallory, have been criticized over their ties to Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan.
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