ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A month after the Orlando nightclub shooting, dozens of gun control advocates started a 49-hour sit-in near Sen. Marco Rubio’s office to remember the 49 victims. They sang songs, held signs that said “#SitForThe49” and laid 49 red roses on white paper with the names of each victim.
Nine hours in, police cut the demonstration short Monday night by arresting 10 protesters who refused to leave the building when it was closing. The sit-in was part of a larger fight for new gun control measures, but so far the calls for change have yielded no results.
The protest was reminiscent of a 26-hour sit-in Democrats staged on the U.S. House floor last month. A GOP-written gun and anti-terror bill has stalled in Washington during this election year and it’s unclear when the House will consider the measure.
On Tuesday, two parents of a Pulse victim observed the shooting anniversary by visiting Washington, urging members of Congress to pass gun control laws.
Gunman Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse during “Latin Night” on June 12 in a rampage that left 49 victims dead and injured 53 at the gay nightclub in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during a call with police dispatchers amid a three-hour standoff, died in a hail of police gunfire after police stormed the venue.
Protester Fausto Cardenas, a University of Central Florida student, said Pulse had been a “safe space” for him and other members of the LGBT community.
“To not feel safe in a space like that was a very impactful thing for us,” said Fausto, who wasn’t arrested. “We want to hold people accountable.”
The protesters said they were targeting Rubio because of the Florida Republican’s opposition to same-sex marriage and the support he has gotten from the National Rifle Association.
Rubio, a former GOP presidential candidate, was in Washington this week, but his state director listened to the protesters for about five minutes Monday.
“Sen. Rubio respects the views of others on these difficult issues, and he welcomes the continued input he is receiving from people across the political spectrum,” Rubio spokeswoman Kristen Morrell said in an email.