Carolina Velez with the Richmond-based Wayside Center for Popular Education told The Associated Press that the protesters lay across the roadway to protest a high number of deportations. The annual average of deportations increased to near 400,000 since President Barack Obama took power in 2009. The protesters linked arms using sections of PVC pipe in an effort to stop buses from leaving the detention center with deportees. The nine activists were charged with obstructing use of entrances to a federal building and refusing to leave when ordered and released, according to the Federal Protective Service. They must appear at the federal courthouse in Alexandria in February.
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