HARTFORD, CT — Six activists who believe budget proposals being bandied about would make devastating cuts to human services were arrested Monday after singing, chanting, and demonstrating against the spending plans inside the state Capitol.
The rally was led by Moral Monday CT — a social and racial justice organization founded by Bishop John Selders and other faith leaders from across the state.
The group gathered in the north rotunda of the capitol while the House of Representatives and Senate were conducting business on Monday afternoon. The group started to sing loudly and chant, which according to State Capitol Police Public Information Officer Scott Driscoll “caused a disturbance in the building.”
The group was asked to stop and exit the building, Driscoll continued. Several did, but those who refused were arrested.
Those charged with Disorderly Conduct and Interference with the General Assembly were: Kent J. Siladi, 61, of Middletown; Carleen R. Gerber, 68, of Lyme; Joshua M. Pawelek, 50, of Glastonbury; Michael J. Reardon, 53, of Glastonbury; and Elizabeth Marie Alford-Harkey, 51, of Milford.
Selders, 54, of Hartford was charged with Interference with the General Assembly.
All charged were issued a misdemeanor summons and released on a promise to appear at Hartford Superior Court on Thursday, June 8.
Moral Monday CT and interfaith clergy, along with labor, education and advocacy group leaders, said they were calling on lawmakers to reject drastic cuts to human services and to embrace revenue options that will “create greater equity and justice.” They are looking to modernize the sales tax by extending it to services and increasing income taxes on the wealthy. They also support a fine for large employers who don’t pay their employees $15 an hour and a sugary beverage tax.
Legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy have agreed to continue budget discussions. All parties have admitted they won’t get a deal before midnight June 7, but they are largely trying to avoid increases in taxes or fees.
The budget deficit over the next two years is estimated at $5.1 billion.