Protesters gathered outside of 4th District U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s office Tuesday afternoon to protest child detention camps across the country.

Cars lined Carter Lane as people of all ages made their way to Hartzler’s office to protest her support of the detention camps.

“I think the whole idea of the detention camps is cruel, inhumane and disgusting,” Nancy Knipping said.

In recent days, national news media have been reporting on horrific conditions at camps scattered across states along the U.S./Mexico border. Children are reportedly being crowded in cages without access to soap, toothbrushes or proper nutrition.

Kari Chesney spoke in support of the protesters. She is running against Republican Sara Walsh to represent the 50th Missouri House District.

“The anecdotes and stories released over the last 24 hours from those children who have been detained highlight that our country is in crisis,” she said. “Our administration is committing crimes against humanity.”

CoMo for Progress organized the demonstration in conjunction with a national day of action sponsored by ClosetheCampsNow.org. It demanded that members of Congress close the camps, stop providing money for family detention and deportation, reunite families and “bear witness.”

Six deaths of children ages 2½ to 16 have been reported since the creation of the camps.

The protesters hope to hold Missouri’s congressional delegation accountable for its votes.

Frank Thomeczek, a retired veterinarian, worried that the issue isn’t getting the coverage it deserves.

“I think that if it came out that dogs were being treated this way, some people would feel more concerned,” he said.

Hartzler’s press secretary, Steve Walsh, responded to the protesters in an interview after the demonstration.

“Congresswoman Hartzler voted last week for a $4.5 billion funding bill to address the crisis at the border,” he said. “It is good to hear what is on people’s minds. I have plenty of information to report back to the congresswoman.”

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

  • General Assignment Reporter, Summer 2019 Studying magazine journalism Reach me at lrtcx6@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700

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