People have had enough: Riot declared at Oregon state capitol as taxpayers protest lockdown orders
SALEM, OR- Another day, and yet more mayhem in Oregon, this time in the state’s capitol of Salem.
PJMedia and numerous media outlets reported that during a special legislative session called by Gov. Kate Brown on Monday, separate groups of protesters showed up at the capitol building, with one such group attempting to enter the building.
Several police agencies responded to the scene, with officers wearing riot gear and using pepper spray and MRAPs in order to keep the building closed to the public, in keeping with Brown’s order to close the building due to the pandemic.
The AP reported that Oregon State Police declared an unlawful assembly Monday as anti-lockdown protesters, fed up with Brown’s draconian lockdown orders attempted to force their way into the capital during the session.
Reports said some of the protesters had guns, while others allegedly attacked law enforcement authorities with bear spray.
During the session, Oregon legislators were considering $800 million in relief to people impacted by the coronavirus.
During the session, the state House voted to extend an eviction moratorium through June, while at the same time designating funds for renter and landlord relief. The bill was scheduled to go to the state senate.
However, earlier on Monday protesters tried to force their way into the capitol, while using chemical agents including bear spray against officers; authorities said that at least two people were arrested.
Meanwhile, outside the capitol people were banging fists on the door, yelling “Let us in!” Patriot groups were gathered to protest the continued lockdowns across the state and were also concerned about what they deemed an unconstitutional legislative session, which excluded public oversight.
In fact, one state representative, Werner Reschke, a Republican tweeted that not allowing people into the legislative session violates Oregon’s state constitution.
While we are IN SESSION, the Capitol building is closed to the public, AND now the streets are also blocked off.
— E. Werner Reschke 🇺🇸 (@EWReschke) December 21, 2020
PJ Media reported that law enforcement agencies included the Oregon state police, sheriff’s deputies from several counties, as well as the Salem Police Bureau.
Conservative media noted that such riot lines and equipment was different from riots caused in the state by antifa and Black Lives Matter throughout the year in various cities in Oregon.
This is Oregon State Capitol Patriots were locked out of their house
Violence against these people was committed. pic.twitter.com/8GrpUqbpN2
— Bombs Away (@braedalibby) December 21, 2020
Some of those in attendance complained that they were assaulted by Oregon State Police, with several people complaining they were acting in the capacity of “Kate’s [Brown] goons.” They complained that people do not have a voice in the process and said, “Oregon’s tyrant government doesn’t believe we have a voice.”
According to the Statesman-Journal:
Aside from dozens of police officers from the Salem Police Department and the Oregon State Police, lawmakers, some staff and reporters were the only ones permitted inside the building on Monday, causing an uproar among protestors, who want to let inside.
After an hour or so of confrontations and standoffs on the northwest side of the Capital, police made at least two arrests.
Protestors used some type of spray and police responded by using pepper balls, according to Lt. Teven Upkes of Salem Police.
“At one point we used pepper balls. I don’t know what else,” he said. “When people attempted to come in to the building they actually used pepper spray and other things on officers. In return we used those to separate ourselves to hold that spot. So I don’t know what all was used but I know at least pepper ball was used. There may have been other chemical munitions used by the crowd as well on us that seemed to have acted similar to…a CS gas.”
One Oregon official, State Sen. Shemia Fagan, a Democrat from Portland who will be sworn in as Secretary of State next month went through the building a short distance from where protestors and police were engaged in their confrontation.
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“It’s unnerving,” she said. “It doesn’t feel normal. And it feels really sad.”
Outside the capitol building, Republican State Sen. Dallas Heard addressed the crowd and expressed frustration not only with the statewide mask mandate but also over a number of restrictions meant to “slow the spread” of COVID-19.
The area outside the Capitol has been declared a “patriot autonomy zone” by anti-shutdown protesters. Police continue to announce an unlawful assembly and are met by chants of “USA” pic.twitter.com/f34w21sdAQ
— Brian Hayes (@_Brian_ICT) December 21, 2020
On Facebook, State Rep. Bill Post, a Republican said:
“Well I’m at the Capitol getting ready for the Third Special Session of the 2020 Legislature. I just noticed out my window where “the public can watch.” A pop up cover over a tv. There is nothing we will do today that can’t wait until regular session in January and to keep the public out…well it’s just wrong. I’m sorry. I wish I were in charge.”
Well I’m at the Capitol getting ready for the Third Special Session of the 2020 Legislature. I just noticed out my…
Yet another legislator, Republican Denyc Boles posted on Facebook, saying:
“Well this is unprecedented in my service here. I don’t have any firsthand knowledge about what is going on. But that’s a whole lot of police in the rotunda. And now I’m recovering from tear gas fumes that have seeped into the building. 2020 can’t end soon enough.”
Well this is unprecedented in my service here. I don’t have any first hand knowledge about what is going on. But that’s…
Boles received a couple of responses to the post:
“I was there. We are peaceful we want to watch the session…the rep from Beaverton leaned out his window and laughed at us.”
Still another commented, “Its just your average citizens who want to have their rights which include being in the Capitol building during session. Is that too much to ask? One group can vandalize the entire front of the building, but now law-abiding citizens cannot???Where is the knowledge of our constitution?”
Heard, after addressing the crowd outside then took his protests inside the building.
He voiced concerns over COVID-19 rules which required masks inside the Capitol building and bans the public from the legislative chamber during legislative sessions.
“This is yet another illegitimate session in which you, the democratic majority, have declared the people unfit to participate in person in their own Capitol building,” he said.
“Let the record reflect that I am in fierce opposition to any legislation that this illegitimate assembly may pass today. You will be held accountable for this in the coming years.”
Heard then quoted scripture, in which he likened the majority to tyrants:
“I declare my right to protest against your false authority and remove my mask,” he said, removing his mask.
“I will stand here for 30 seconds while you decide if you are fascists and willing to use the government to force and override mu rights or to prove that you are nothing more than bullies, and false authorities.”
At that point, Senate President Peter Courtney asked for the next time on the agenda, when the two began to talk over each other. Courtney then asked for Heard’s microphone to be shut off.
Is this the “new normal” in America? Hopefully not.
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