- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Supreme Court spokeswoman says 18 demonstrators have been arrested outside the court during a protest against the death penalty.

The protest on Tuesday marked 40 years since the first person was executed after the Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976.

The arrests took place after protesters climbed the steps of the court’s marble plaza in a steady rain to unfurl a large banner reading “Stop Executions.”

Dozens of other protesters stood on the sidewalk in front of the court chanting, singing hymns and holding signs that listed the names of every person executed over the past four decades.

Executions and new death sentences have been declining in recent years. Twenty people were executed last year, the fewest since 1991, when 14 people were put to death.

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