Rabbi arrested in Washington for budget protest

By Jennifer Lipman, July 29, 2011

A group of Jewish leaders and their Christian counterparts were arrested in Washington DC on Thursday after staging a protest over budget cuts.

The 11 religious representatives had gathered at the Capitol Rotunda and started a sit-in to make a statement urging President Obama not to "balance the budget on the backs of the poor".

They said they were frustrated that their pleas to the administration and Congress to protect funding for America's most vulnerable were being "ignored".

The demonstrators included Rabbi Arthur Waskow, founder and director of the Shalom Centre, a Philadelphia-based Jewish social action organisation.

After police intervened they were charged with demonstrating within a US Capitol building.

Cuts to social security and medicare are some of the key issues in the ongoing budget dispute between the Democrats and the Republicans.

If a deal to raise the US debt ceiling is not agreed by Tuesday, the US could default on its debt and be unable to pay its bills for the first time in history.

Last updated: 12:29pm, July 29 2011