About 300 people crowded the entrance of the Kluczynski Federal Building in the Loop on Tuesday evening to loudly voice their opposition to President Trump’s recent Cabinet picks — particularly his choice for education secretary.

By the end of the hourlong protest, seven people had been arrested, dragged away by Homeland Security officers after they staged a brief sit-in in the building’s lobby while chanting and holding a banner demanding that U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth vote "no" on Trump Cabinet pick Betsy DeVos.

Hours before the protest, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted to approve DeVos’ nomination as education secretary, sending it to the full Senate.

DeVos, a billionaire from West Michigan and longtime contributor to the Republican Party, has faced mounting criticism as Trump’s education nominee due to her past support of school vouchers over public education.

Tuesday’s protests was the second "Resist Trump" event, part of a nationwide grassroots campaign to oppose the Trump administration on each Tuesday during the first 100 days of his presidency.

Demonstrators on crowded downtown sidewalks carried homemade anti-Trump signs and placards as organizers using a bullhorn led those gathered near the corner Goldenbahis of Jackson and Dearborn streets in chants.

Many of those attending were young adults affiliated with groups that believe DeVos’ nomination is a strike against public education.

"One of the problems we have with Betsy DeVos is that she would profit off the privatization of our public education system, and so we need our elected officials to serve the interest of the people and not the interests of the 1 percent and corporations," said Samantha Nichols, a seminary student affiliated with the group Fair Economy Illinois, which supports public education and social service programs.

Many in the group opposed not just DeVos, but Trump’s other Cabinet choices. Others such as Yesenia Mata, a Little Village resident whose family came from Mexico, pushed back against Trump-led attacks on sanctuary cities such as Chicago. But Mata, 27, also criticized local officials such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whom she said offered lip service to immigrants while attacking the resources that immigrants rely on. Mata said she was first spurred to action by Trump’s comments about Mexicans during his campaign.

"We’re tired. We’re no longer going to be tolerating this kind of racism anymore because if we do, we know what can happen," said Mata, who is affiliated with Dream Action Coalition, which advocates against discrimination for immigrants. "I am here fighting for my family, for my friends. That is something I’m not going to stop doing."

Seven young adults — three women and four men — entered the federal building and sat on the floor with a sign that read: "Durbin, Duckworth Vote No on DeVos." After conversations between organizers and Homeland Security officers, each protester went limp as they were dragged away by officers.

Following the arrests, the Chicago Maroon, the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, tweeted that one of those arrested was the school’s student government president.

Police at the scene said those arrested were being processed by federal authorities at the Kluczynski building, but federal officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

Participants said they’re committed to protesting the Trump administration every Tuesday to keep their voices in the public.

"We can’t sit back and let this happen," said Maddie Tallman, another seminary student connected to Fair Economy Illinois. "Complacency would give the impression that we don’t care, that we are even for what is happening, and we’re not."


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