Senator Manchin’s critics turn against protester

Image copyright AP Image caption Lee contributed money to protesters throwing the Capitol Dome into the river in April A protester’s crowdfunding site has drawn criticism from some Democratic backers of Joe Manchin, the…

Senator Manchin's critics turn against protester

Image copyright AP Image caption Lee contributed money to protesters throwing the Capitol Dome into the river in April

A protester’s crowdfunding site has drawn criticism from some Democratic backers of Joe Manchin, the controversial US senator.

The Environmental Justice and Organising Fellow at Harvard University, Lee Koppelman, caused controversy by staging a sit-in on the Capitol grounds with climate change activists.

He said he had been “personally assaulted” by Senator Manchin on Friday.

The Democrat from West Virginia, a conservative state, said he had not been hurt.

“I disagree with his political position and his views are my political views, but he understands that,” Senator Manchin said.

He said that while he respected Mr Koppelman’s democratic rights to protest, he had also been stopped by Secret Service officers before he could speak with Senator Manchin to inform him of his “threat”.

Image copyright REUTERS Image caption Protesters at a pre-march rally supported Ms Bridges and Mr Koppelman

Some of Mr Koppelman’s fellow democrats have expressed unhappiness about his recent actions.

On Friday, they criticised the senator for allegedly “harassing” and “body slamming” two of the protesters.

“I am deeply disappointed that a senator would resort to physically attacking peaceful demonstrators because he disagrees with their actions,” said Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

She was joined in her criticism by California Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Copies of newspaper report from the 1990s, in which former senator Joe Biden acknowledges racist slurs

Mr Koppelman has been dogged by allegations of racial discrimination before.

He told The Boston Globe newspaper in 2005 that he had been the victim of harassment and physical assault on campus.

The incident followed Mr Koppelman’s involvement in the divestment campaign against the Domino Sugar Company – the most successful divestment campaign for students.

Mr Koppelman gave the Sugar company $2,000 as a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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