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10 arrested during anti-filibuster protest at Sen. Sinema’s Phoenix office

Ten people were arrested on June 22, 2021, during an anti-filibuster protest outside Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's Phoenix office. (KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX – Police arrested 10 people staging a sit-in at U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s Phoenix office Tuesday during a protest over the Democrat’s opposition to scrapping the filibuster.

The individuals arrested were among dozens of demonstrators who gathered at Sinema’s office on Camelback Road near 32nd Street chanting slogans about ending the filibuster.

Most of the protesters moved to the sidewalk in front of the building when asked, but 10 holdouts sat in front of the door and refused to move until they were arrested without incident and taken away in police SUVs at around 11 a.m.

The Phoenix Police Department said everybody arrested was issued a citation and released.

“The group organizer cooperated with detectives, but a smaller group remained on the property,” Sgt. Andy Williams told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email. “Officers made announcements over loudspeaker asking the group to leave the premises. Additionally, detectives approached each individual and personally told the demonstrators to leave. However, the group continued to ignore the officers’ requests.”

Before he was arrested, Kai Newkirk explained why he felt compelled to take a stand about the filibuster issue.

“I’m here because everything that I care about that we need in this country, so much change for the people, is being blocked by the filibuster, from voting rights, to the DREAM Act, to raising the minimum wage, and so much more,” he told KTAR News.

The demonstration came a day after Sinema penned an opinion piece for the Washington Post arguing that maintaining the filibuster, a Senate rule that requires 60 votes for most bills to pass, strengthens democracy.

“If we eliminate the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, we will lose much more than we gain,” she wrote.

The Senate is evenly split, but the 48 Democrats and two independents who caucus with them hold the majority because Vice President Kamala Harris has the power to break ties.

The filibuster allowed Republicans to block the creation of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and the GOP is poised to use the rule again to prevent Democrats from passing a sweeping election reform bill.

Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, another moderate Democrat, have remained steadfast in their view that the filibuster leads to more bipartisan cooperation and hence stronger legislation.

“I understand bipartisanship seems outdated to many pundits. But the difficult work of collaboration is what we expect in Arizona,” Sinema wrote Monday.

“And I still believe it is the best way to identify realistic solutions — instead of escalating all-or-nothing political battles that result in no action, or in whipsawing federal policy reversals.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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