Women's rights demonstrators stage "picnic protest"

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Just a day after Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the contentious "ultrasound" bill into law, women's rights protesters returned to the Capitol...the place where so many were arrested just last week.

They called it a "picnic-in", as opposed to a "sit-in", with approximately 30 women and children here to show the governor they're not dropping the fight.

It was a mild afternoon at the Capitol...both in temperature and spirit. Women's rights protesters like Casey Scallion of Richmond held a picnic as a form of protest.

"In light of the bill that was recently passed I just feel like it's a good idea to show up," Scallion said.

Wednesday, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law the divisive "ultrasound before abortion" bill...the one that helped set off so many protests...including the wild scene that unfolded here last weekend. On Saturday, hundreds showed up to rally against the bill, and 30 were arrested for holding an unauthorized protest on the Capitol steps.

Caroline Hoover of Richmond was there Saturday, and today she brought her children back to the very same place.

"When I told my children we were having a picnic at the Capitol today, they said, 'Mommy...I don't want to. I'm afraid of all those policemen,'" Hoover said.

Capitol Police came under heavy criticism after the visuals from that day were seen around the country. Today, was hardly a repeat. In fact, were it not for the cameras...it would've looked like any other lunch hour.

"I think it's important for us to be able to voice our opinions and voice our opinions without fear," said Meghan McSweeney of Richmond.

The protests, they say, are not over...but they do appear to be winding down for now. An historic General Assembly session is scheduled to end this weekend. The ultrasound law is taking effect in July.

The idea of a picnic is not by accident. Last week, the protesters got arrested partly because their permit expired. But you don't need a permit to have a picnic on the Capitol grounds.

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