Activists in support of access to abortion covered the front of the Riverside Historic Courthouse with handprints and slogans Saturday evening, July 30, resulting in 5 arrests
About 12 people took part in the demonstration about 6:30 pm at 4050 Main St., said Olivia Dunston, an organizer for Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. Many wore green bandanas, marking their affiliation with the group.
Signs calling for the nationwide legalization of abortion and handprints made with what the group described as removable paint were seen near the front entrance of the 119-year-old building. Several people were handcuffed on its front steps by sheriff’s deputies in footage recorded at the scene. Dunston said they were exercising their first amendment rights.
“Our downtown courthouse is a beautiful piece of history and art,” Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco wrote in a statement responding to the demonstration. “When you damage, deface or destroy property you are no longer a protester, you are nothing more than a common criminal.”
Deputies arrested five people on suspicion of felony vandalism Saturday evening, he said.
The demonstration in Riverside was at least the second put on by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights that resulted in arrests. On Thursday afternoon, 25 people with the organization gathered at the Los Angeles County Museum of art, Los Angeles Police Department officials said. Some wore white pants with red stains and carried wire coat-hangers or signs bearing slogans like “No Forced Births,” as seen in photos and videos posted to social media.
A 20-year-old Los Angeles woman and a 27-year-old Westminster woman who had chained themselves to “Urban Lights”, an installation of over 200 vintage street lights that has stood in front of LACMA since 2008, as well as a 22-year-old Upland man who poured a thick red substance on them, wound up booked on suspicion of felony vandalism.
The people who were arrested Thursday had been held in lieu of $20,000 bail, police said. Those costs were paid by a volunteer with Rise Up 4 Abortion, and the protesters were released late Thursday evening, the group said in a Twitter post.
🚨 Last night, 8 people were arrested at a small #RiseUp4AbortionRights protest in Riverside. Charged with felony vandalism & conspiracy to commit a crime!! For chalk and removable paint. Their bail is $10k each.
Right now call the jail, demand their release: 951.955.4500 pic.twitter.com/WueSDFYs43
— Rise4AbortionRightsLA (@Rise4AbortionLA) July 31, 2022