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12 persons arrested during 'Occupy' protests at U.S. Supreme Court

By the CNN Wire Staff
January 20, 2012 -- Updated 2139 GMT (0539 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: One person is arrested inside courthouse and 11 others outside
  • The event spotlights the two-year anniversary of a Supreme Court decision
  • The decision allowed the rise of the Super PACs
  • Protests were also expected at federal courthouses in other cities

Washington (CNN) -- Twelve persons were arrested Friday during an "Occupy" demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court in which protesters were dressed like justices and sang songs of the Motown group The Supremes, officials said.

One person was arrested in the building and the other 11 were apprehended on the courthouse steps and plaza, court officials said.

The "Occupy" movement turned its focus on the nation's highest court as more than 200 people gathered around the building.

The event was timed with the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which removed many limits to corporate spending in federal political campaigns, organizers said.

The 2010 ruling made it legal for groups to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money for a candidate, as long as the group does not coordinate with the candidate or contributed directly to his or her campaign.

It allowed for the rise of Super PACs, which can raise unlimited funds from corporations.

Protests were also expected at federal courthouses in dozens of cities across the country, from Akron, Ohio, to Gainesville, Florida, to Honolulu, Hawaii.

The one-day event, dubbed "Occupy the Courts," was organized by the grassroots group called Move to Amend and was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street participants, organizers said.

"Move to Amend volunteers across the USA will lead the charge on the judiciary which created -- and continues to expand -- corporate personhood rights," the Occupy the Courts website states.

The Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York in September has spread across major cities worldwide as a call to action against what protesters consider the unequal distribution of wealth.

CNN's Bill Mears, Stacey Samuel and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

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