CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Around two dozen people rallied and marched in the streets of downtown Charleston on Monday, asking U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to end the filibuster among other issues.
The protesters ended the march by sitting across Virginia Street East near the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse blocking traffic while chanting “End the filibuster, save America.” Around a half dozen of those protesters were arrested by Charleston Police officers for blocking traffic.
Maria Gunnoe, a protester from Boone County told MetroNews that her group believes Manchin is not representing the people of West Virginia.
“The majority want to end the filibuster, the majority wants voting rights and the majority wants reproductive rights. So it’s standing in the way of many things right now,” she said.
“I think that Joe Manchin needs to understand that he is not West Virginia. We are West Virginia. West Virginia’s people are West Virginia.”
On May 11, Manchin was the lone Democrat to vote against a measure guaranteeing abortion rights — the Women’s Health Protection Act. The vote came after a draft Supreme Court opinion signaling that justices will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision recognizing a woman’s right to seek an abortion.
The split Senate needed 60 votes to move the measure forward; Manchin has opposed removing the filibuster, as MetroNews previously reported.
Gunnoe said taking away abortion rights is dangerous for women’s healthcare.
“There have been many people throughout my life that have enjoyed the benefits of Roe v. Wade. not only abortion but planned parenthood and many issues surrounding women’s reproductive health,” Gunnoe said.
She added only women should decide what to do on this issue.
“Men often don’t understand the needs for an abortion or the needs for reproductive healthcare. Men often don’t understand that and men should not be at the table when it comes to weighing in on that,” Gunnoe said.
The march began at Slack Plaza where protesters held a rally before walking.
Manchin is currently in Davos, Switzerland taking part in the World Economic Forum.