Georgia lawmaker dragged away from State Capitol in handcuffs for protesting a new voting law

Atlanta, Georgia – Georgia lawmaker Park Cannon was dragged away from the state Capitol by police on Thursday for knocking on the Governors' door in protest as he signed a voter suppression bill into law behind closed doors.

Representative Cannon was led out of the Georgia Capitol building in handcuffs.
Representative Cannon was led out of the Georgia Capitol building in handcuffs.  © Facebook/Screenshot/Tamara Stevens

Video showed Representative Cannon knocking at Governor Brian Kemp's office to demand transparency on the private press conference signing that did not allow representatives to attend.

Police warned Cannon to stop knocking, so as not to disrupt the proceedings. When she refused, she was handcuffed and dragged from the state capitol building.

"Why am I under arrest? There is no reason for me to be arrested. I am a legislator!" she said as she was removed.

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The event was streamed live on Facebook, and footage has been circulated and streamed on social media by millions of people.

"Why are there three officers touching me? I am not doing anything!" she claimed.

Supporters said Cannon should be allowed to be involved in the proceedings as an elected public official who represents all Georgians.

"Let her go!" they screamed at police.

Cannon was detained and later released from Fulton County Jail on Thursday night.

She is being charged with two felonies – disrupting a general assembly session and felony obstruction, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by CNN.

The second charge said she fought against her arrest by using threats of violence, stopping on cops feet, and kicking them and the elevator doors with her high-heels.

Rep. Cannon, who is Black and openly queer, was Georgia's youngest lawmaker at age 24 when she was elected in 2016.

President Joe Biden called the new voting laws "sick" and "un-American," speaking on Thursday just before Rep. Cannon's arrest.

"We will not live in fear and we will not be controlled. We have a right to our future and a right to our freedom. We will come together and continue fighting white supremacy in all its forms," she said after her release.

Live footage of the arrest was shared on social media

The bill imposes new restrictions on voting

Protesters gathered outside the Georgia capital on Thursday when Cannon was arrested.
Protesters gathered outside the Georgia capital on Thursday when Cannon was arrested.  © Facebook/Screenshot/Tamara Stevens

Governor Kemp signed the controversial voting bill into law which will impose new restrictions on voters.

The law will allow state officials to have more control over local election boards, require new ID for absentee ballots, set limits on weekend early voting, reduce the use of ballot drop boxes, shorten the age cutoff and time allotted for runoffs, and make it illegal to give voters food and water while waiting in line.

Voting rights activists said it will disproportionately affect access for communities of color.

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According to Cannon, the law is "a direct retaliation" from Republican legislators after Donald Trump's unfounded allegations of election fraud and attempts to overturn election results in the state.

Kemp said the new bill is "fair" and will "make it easy to vote and hard to cheat."

Georgia became the hottest political battleground state this past year as the historically Republican stronghold elected Biden as their first democratic presidential candidate in three decades.

The results of the November election were so narrow that Georgia held a runoff that turned the US Senate blue by electing two Democratic senators in January.

Cannon previously clashed with Capitol police over voting protests

This is not the first time Rep. Cannon has clashed with state police inside the State Capitol while defending voters' rights.

Last month, the lawmaker led a two-hour sit-in on the steps of a Capitol stairway, during which a police officer physically moved her out of the way.

"Who – and what – are they protecting when they work this hard to suppress our vote?" she said.

Cannon has battled previous bills in the state which fought against gay and transgender discrimination and banned abortion.

She said upon her election to office that she hoped to fight for a mixed and underrepresented group of voices including women, African-Americans, abuse victims, and intersex people.

Cover photo: Collage: Facebook/Screenshot/Tamara Stevens (2)

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