A group of protesters from the activist group Code Pink ended an overnight vigil for victims of gun violence on Tuesday morning with a dramatic "die-in" outside the National Rifle Association's Virginia headquarters.

The event was staged in response to the Orlando massacre, where Omar Mateen used a Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle to kill 49 and injure dozens more.


The overnight protest began with a Monday evening Ramadan meal—a sign of solidarity with Muslims who have been affected by Islamophobia in the wake of the nightclub attack. Later, activists held paper hearts bearing the names of those killed by Mateen, and participated in a special commemorative ceremony from 2:02 AM to 5 AM—the duration of the Pulse shootings.


The protest's "die-in" began at 9 AM on Tuesday morning, and was timed to coincide with the arrival of NRA staff to their offices. Participants covered their hands with red paint, and lay inside chalk body-outlines as other activists held signs around them, chanting "arrest the NRA, not us."


Sixteen people were arrested during the protests, Code Pink said.


According to the group, the overnight protest was endorsed by a diverse group of organizations, including American Muslim Voice, Newtown Action, and Veterans for Peace, who came together on the heels of a stinging defeat for the latest attempt at gun control legislation in the U.S. Senate.

In a release, Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin said:

Make no mistake, the bills up for consideration last night in the Senate fall far short of the assault weapons ban we called for overnight and this morning. But even as the bodies in Orlando wait to be buried and the country is still in mourning, Congress can’t even pass mild, common sense gun control legislation like universal background checks that are supported by vast majorities of Americans including more than 4 out of 5 gun owners. The stranglehold that the NRA has on our elected officials is breathtaking and its effects are devastating to our families and communities. The NRA has the blood of hundreds of thousands on their hands and that is why we were here in defiant protest this morning.

On Twitter, gun control advocates shared messages of support for the protest.

In response to the protests, an NRA spokesperson told The Hill on Monday: "The NRA respects the entire Constitution and that includes the First Amendment — unlike these anti-Second Amendment groups that like to pick and choose which amendments are valid."

You can find all of Fusion’s coverage of the Orlando shootings here.