It’s not entirely clear who’s running the majority Republican Party in Virginia, the Richmond Style Weekly writes this week. Basic tasks like passing a budget are now in some jeopardy, state Senator John Watkins tells the paper. “Some of us warned about this very thing: social issues overcoming the practical aspects of governing,” he says.
Whoever’s running Virginia, they’re delivering it to new, uncomfortable places. On Saturday, Style Weekly photographer Scott Elmquist took the picture above, of a four-year-old girl on the Capitol steps where police in riot gear stand guard. Officers arrested 31 activists for reproductive rights that day after they sat on the steps without a permit. Scott says the girl spent the time happily running back and forth to her mother’s arms. A spokesperson for Governor Bob McDonnell, who initially supported the forced vaginal ultrasound bill that sparked the protest, says McDonnell was at a basketball game and doesn’t direct security policy, so don’t blame him for what happened.
As for the iconic image of the little girl and the riot police: Though the mom had been on the steps earlier, she was not arrested nor did she come close to being arrested. The photo is jarring, the mom says, but the scene wasn’t frightening:
“It wasn’t a scary situation at all, for anyone, even the people being arrested. There was never any hint of violence. It was a jubilant crowd of people who wanted to make our voices heard.”
And now, in these photos, they’ve made themselves seen in a way that’s hard to forget.