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Ice cream makers Ben and Jerry arrested at US Capitol (+video)

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were participating in the Democracy Awakening protests outside the US Capitol, which aim to call attention to the role of money in politics.

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Vermont ice cream entrepreneurs Ben Cohen, left, and Jerry Greenfield pose for photos in Burlington, Vt. in this 2010 file photo. The co-founders of Ben & Jerry's were arrested Monday at the US Capitol as part of ongoing protests in Washington over the role of money in politics.

Toby Talbot/AP/File

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Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, aren't just ice cream makers. They are also advocates of social change – even if that means getting arrested. 

The two were among the 300 people arrested and soon released at the US Capitol on Monday, as part of "Democracy Spring" protests that have been taking place for the past week, campaigning for finance reform and voting rights. Many protesters are staunch supporters of Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, whom the famous ice cream duo has publicly backed with a variety of initiatives from ice cream itself to illuminated road signs. 

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Democracy "looks great from the outside, but inside it’s a disappointing mess," reads a statement on Ben & Jerry's website. "With corporations and billionaires pouring unlimited, unchecked dollars into politicians' pockets and new voter restrictions popping up across the country, this is no longer a government of the people and for the people; this is a government of the rich, and for the rich."

On Tuesday, the Vermont-based ice cream company (a subsidiary of Unilever) featured a blog detailing the arrests of the co founders, including pictures of the two as they were participating the protests.

It's not the first time Ben & Jerry's has brought its political views to the table. "You could say that our passion for social justice has been baked right into everything we’ve ever done," the owners wrote, citing examples like "I Dough, I Dough," the temporary name of their chocolate chip cookie dough flavor after the Supreme Court's landmark decision on gay marriage in June 2015. 

They've been vocal supporters of Senator Sanders, too.

"Jerry and I have been constituents of Bernie Sanders for the last 30 years. We’ve seen him in action and we believe in him," co-founder Mr. Cohen writes on a separate, personal site called "Bernie's Yearning." 

"Bernie's Yearning," a flavor Cohen created to illustrate the importance of financial and political reform, two of the Senator's most famous causes. The flavor is meant to demonstrate how economic gains benefit only a small number of people, reinforcing a similar message that Bernie Sanders has been campaigning on.

"The entire top of Bernie's Yearning is covered with a thick disc of solid chocolate, which represents the huge majority of economic gains that have gone to the top 1 percent," Cohen writes. "Below is plain mint ice cream. The way you eat it is you whack the disc with a soup spoon and mix the pieces around."

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"After whacking a few pints, we discovered that once you break up the big chocolate disc, it's hard to mix the chips into the ice cream while it's still in the container. What's needed is a proper ice cream bowl to mix it around in.‬" 

He later collaborated with friends, creating Bernie Bowls which he says would help in achieving the proper mix. 

"The dark rim at the top of the bowl represents all the wealth that's gone to the top 1 percent," he adds. "As you can see, it's in the process of flowing back down to everybody else."

This report includes material from the Associated Press. 


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