Tags: Coronavirus | oregon | capitol | police | protest | chemical | covid

Salem, Oregon State Police Gas COVID Protesters at Capitol

protesters hold trump 2020 signs and a flag outside the oregon state capitol.
Protesters hold a rally outside the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore. on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, as legislators meet for a special session to discuss COVID-19 relief measures.  (AP Photo/Sara Cline)

By    |   Monday, 21 December 2020 06:07 PM

Police deployed pepper balls and other chemical munitions to clear protesters from an entrance to the Oregon capitol in Salem on Monday, dispersing some of a larger group gathered outside a special session of the legislature for a rally against restrictions ostensibly to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Statesman reported that the legislative session, conducted inside the capitol officially declared closed due to coronavirus restrictions, experienced only minor disruptions and that two people that managed to get inside were arrested after about an hour of confrontations between the demonstrators and dozens of state and Salem police.

Oregon State Police declared the “Reopen Oregon” protest an “unlawful assembly” at about 9:30 a.m., ordered the crowd to disburse and leave capitol grounds, and then began to move it back, Portland ABC affiliate KATU reported, which characterized the assembly as “mostly peaceful.”

A clash between police and demonstrators at one of the entrances around 10:15 a.m. erupted, which is apparently when police unleashed the pepper spray and other irritants.

“At one point we used pepper balls. I don’t know what else," Lt. Treven Upkes of the Salem police told the Statesman. "When people attempted to come into the building, they actually used pepper spray and other things on officers.

“In return we used those to separate ourselves and get them 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.”

A video posted to the Twitter account of a Statesman reporter showed what she said was a blue tear gas used to drive the protestors back but not away.

The legislature was called into special session by Gov. Kate Brown to consider extending the state's emergency eviction moratorium and provide funds to tenants and landlords.

One of the groups encouraging participation in the rally, Patriot Prayer, urged people to gather calling the closed meeting of the legislature unconstitutional.

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Police deployed pepper balls and other chemical munitions to clear protesters from an entrance to the Oregon capitol in Salem on Monday, dispersing some of a larger group gathered outside a special session of the legislature..
oregon, capitol, police, protest, chemical, covid
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2020-07-21
Monday, 21 December 2020 06:07 PM
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