An 85-year-old rabbi was arrested Friday when he was part of a group protesting outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. Rabbi Arthur Waskow was apparently one of six people briefly detained by Philadelphia police when they protested as part of a group known as Elders and Friends Standing With Immigrant Children and Their Parents. Their crime? Briefly blocking access to the ICE office.
The protesters, who called themselves the “Old Farts,” managed to block access to the ICE office for about two hours until police took action. Those who were arrested were issued citation for “failure to disperse” and immediately released.
A video posted on Twitter by Helen Gym, a Philadelphia City councilmember, shows a man identified as Waskow sticking out his hands so that he can be handcuffed with plastic ties. The police officer then has to help Waskow up so he can use his cane.
Another Twitter post shows Waskow gave a speech before he was arrested. “We understand that by the local law what we are doing violates that and we see it as the freest thing we can do is to submit to arrest at this moment,” he said. “Criminals are living in the White House who would tear away even nursing children from their mother’s breasts … we implore you as citizens to be aware of the criminals that are wrecking the decent lives of decent families.
If you need to arrest us so be it, but remember who the real criminals are.”