July 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Choi, others arrested in Las Vegas after ENDA protest

Activists were arrested in Las Vegas on Tuesday following a protest urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to move forward with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Eight protesters — including Dan Choi, known in his role in protesting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and Robin McGehee, co-founder of GetEqual — were arrested after they blocked traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard while holding up a sign reading “Reid: No One Can Do More? GetEqual.org.”

Around 20 activists in total played roles in the protest and not all were arrested, according to GetEqual. Many activists in HERO, a local group responsible for protesting Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on LGBT issues, also took part in the event.

After she was released from prison, McGehee told the Blade she thinks the protest was “absolutely” successful because activists “sent a strong message to Sen. Reid” pressuring him to take action.

“Reid has said that he whole-heartedly supporters an inclusive ENDA,” McGehee said. “It easy to say that while it sits in committee. What we want to see is leadership from not only the Senate, but also Congress, to not only talk about why you support it, but actually do the actual work to get it addressed and passed.”

The Las Vegas office for Reid didn’t respond to the Blade’s request to comment on the protest or ENDA. Still, McGehee said she heard from local organizers that Reid’s staffers knew about the protest and briefed him about the event.

The activists were charged with the misdemeanor of obstructing a police officer and blocking a roadway when a sidewalk was available, according to McGehee.

McGehee said those who were arrested were released without bail and set to appear Sept. 20 before the Clark County District Court. The maximum possible penalty for the protesters is $400, according to McGehee.

The names of the protesters who were arrested are:

* Robin McGehee, 36, a California resident;

* Dan Choi, 29, a D.C. resident;

* Dan Fotou, 34, a California resident;

* Natasha Dillon, 25, a New York resident;

* Meg Sneed, 27, an Arizona resident;

* Lee Walters, 45, an Arizona resident;

* Paul Roark, 41, an Arizona resident;

* and Jimmy Gruender, 36, an Arizona resident.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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