NAACP protesters were arrested on Tuesday (3 January) after staging a sit-in at Alabama Senator Jeff Session's Mobile, Alabama office. The group of protesters aimed to convince Sessions to withdraw his nomination as Donald Trump's attorney general.
The civil rights organisation's president Cornell William Brooks and youth and college director Stephen Green were arrested, the NAACP confirmed on Tuesday night on Twitter. The protest at Session's office was one of several demonstrations held throughout Alabama against his nomination, AL.com reported.
"As a matter of conscience and conviction, we can neither be mute nor mumble our opposition to Sen Jefferson Beauregard Sessions becoming attorney general of the United States," Brooks said in a statement. "Sen Sessions has callously ignored the reality of voter suppression but zealously prosecuted innocent civil rights leaders on trumped-up charges of voter fraud. As an opponent of the vote, he can't be trusted to be the chief law enforcement officer for voting rights."
The protest in Mobile, which ended with several taken into custody, was broadcast on Facebook Live around 7.30pm EST/12.30am GMT on an NAACP social media account, USA Today reported. The incident was peaceful with demonstrators quietly walking towards the police van.
Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who worked in the defence team of community activists who were previously prosecuted by Sessions, also sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday urging them to oppose his nomination. Sessions previously said the Ku Klux Klan is "OK" and is a supporter of broad immigration reform, civil rights advocates note.
The Alabama senator is also opposed to the Voting Rights Act, which he has referred to as "intrusive legislation".
Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for Sessions' confirmation, noted that he has the support of several black elected officials. "Jeff Sessions has dedicated his career to upholding the rule of law, ensuring public safety and prosecuting government corruption. Many African-American leaders who've known him for decades attest to this and have welcomed his nomination to be the next Attorney General," she said in a statement.
According to AL.com, Alabama Senate Democratic Leader Quinton Ross and Alabama civil rights attorney and Sessions' law school classmate, Donald Watkins, are among the black elected officials offering him their support.
"These false portrayals of Senator Sessions will fail as tired, recycled, hyperbolic charges that have been thoroughly rebuked and discredited," Flores added. "From the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Sheriffs Association to civil rights leaders and African-American elected officials, to victims' rights organisations, Senator Sessions has inspired confidence from people across the country that he will return the Department of Justice to an agency the American people can be proud of once again."