Willie Nelson Headlines Texas Protest Rally


Austin, Texas (AP) —Country music legend Willie Nelson leads more than 1,000 spectators by “voting” on Saturday from the steps of the Texas Capitol at a rally that concludes a four-day march. rice field. Bolted to Washington two weeks ago, it blocked GOP-backed voting restrictions.

A family with lawn chairs spreads out in the greenery of Austin’s vast Parliament building. Clergy, politicians, members, and musicians all talked about proposals to impose voter ID requirements, limit ballot drop boxes and ballot voting, and deprive local government officials of their voting rights.

A special session where the Texas Democrats have stopped escaping is set to end next week, but Republican Governor Greg Abbott has promised to schedule a new session as soon as lawmakers return to the state.

“If you don’t like who’s there, vote,” Nelson sang, calling on the crowd to sing the lyrics he wrote earlier about standing in the ballot box.

“I felt like I needed to be here. It’s an event that makes the history we need right now,” said Austin’s 75-year-old Brenda Hanson. “I am a descendant of slavery and I am not interested in returning. I hope this country will move forward. I have lived for more than a quarter of a century and have seen this retreat so far. I have never done it. “

Hanson said she was physically handicapped, but would otherwise have taken a walk for nearly 30 miles. Instead, she sat on a bench under a tree, chanting support, and wanted to make a statement in her presence.

The march began on Wednesday and ended on Saturday when participants walked to the Texas Capitol door. In part, it was led by former Democratic and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who did not rule out the candidacy for the Governor of Texas in 2022. Earlier this week, O’Rourke and the march closed the frontage of Interstate 35. The morning rush hour paved the way from the Republican-controlled state legislature district to the Democratic district, moving back and forth between restaurants.

Marchers compared Jim Crow-style restrictions to what the Republicans say is a measure aimed at protecting against fraud and regaining confidence in American elections. There was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections.

“I ask you to be brave in their beliefs and think about all the men and all the women who have done what they need to do in their own moments of truth in the history of this country. “Masu,” O’Rourke told the crowd.

More than 12 people in favor of the voting bill proposed in Texas gathered at the front gate of the Houses of Parliament behind the rally and waved signs in support of the proposed changes. Republican Senator Bryan Hughes, who drafted the Senate voting bill, advises the Associated Press to visit with people around the Capitol to hear their opinions and read his opinions when they hear about the rally. He said he decided to do so. Part of the legislation.

“Voting rights must be basic, accessible and secure. Both are important,” Hughes said. “This is America. This freedom of speech — we love it. I’m glad I’m here, whether people agree or disagree with me.”

“Many people have heard of generalization,” Hughes said, and his goal is to discuss the details of the bill’s wording with stakeholders.

Political predicament is about 2,000 legislative workers at risk of losing their salaries after Abbott. Reduced funds for their salary From the state budget of punitive line item veto later Democrats went out May. Parliamentarians can recover their funds during an ongoing special session if they are not stagnant with more than 50 Democrats in Washington, DC.

A proceeding filed by the Democratic Party on behalf of legislators is pending in the Texas Supreme Court. It is not clear when the court will make the decision.

Lenny Conley, 52, said she attended the rally with her daughter, who is fighting a Texas voting bill. When she went to vote, Conley took her daughter to vote and said she could learn the process in anticipation of the day she could throw her ballot. Now, Conley said he was afraid that by the time his daughter went to college, she wouldn’t be able to vote if she only had college ID.

“I’m here for her rights,” Conley said. “There is no reason to be threatened that she cannot vote.”


Acacia Coronado is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America Is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.