SALEM, Or. – A group of around 300 protesters attempted to force their way through two separate entrances to the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, outraged that the state legislature was holding a special session closed to the public.
The crowd is made up of members of the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer and other far-right groups, many of whom are armed with pistols and rifles. At one point during the protest, which began around 9 a.m., a woman attempted to climb into a window on the west side of the government building. However, the Oregon state soldiers pushed her back – before two more soldiers showed up to insist that she leave the ledge.
These soldiers were quickly chased away by screaming protesters, many of whom carried long black guns.
A few minutes later, the crowd moved towards the north entrance of the building and attempted to make their way through. A dozen more soldiers arrived at the gate, said it was an illegal gathering and pushed back the crowd, using some sort of deterrence in a series of “pops,” at which point the protesters returned. en masse, watery eyes and coughing.
About 100 protesters quickly entered the lobby anyway, and state soldiers again attempted to force them to leave. The Salem Police Department told the Daily Beast that streets surrounding the Capitol building have been closed and residents are urged to avoid the area if possible due to the ongoing protests.
The government’s agenda addresses tackling the pandemic and whether to allow restaurants and bars to serve take-out cocktails, two tricky topics for a crowd who qualifies the restrictions enacted by local lawmakers and Governor Kate Brown of “tyranny”. The special session, which is the third since March, would provide $ 800 million in relief for Oregon residents.
During the session, Oregon Governor Kate Brown was also due to ask lawmakers to maintain several protections for residents amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including relief for homeowners and tenants and a bill to protect schools from certain lawsuits.
To date, 1,341 people have died and 103,000 others have been infected with the coronavirus in Oregon.
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