Anti-Lockdown Protesters Clash With Police At Oregon State Capitol

Screenshot-Virginia Barreda on Twitter

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Anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police during a demonstration Monday at the Oregon Capitol as lawmakers met in a special session to decide on funding for coronavirus relief.

Protesters began gathering outside the capitol building Monday morning, and eventually went inside an entrance space, the Statesman Journal reported. Oregon State Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly around 9:20 AM and ordered the crowd to disperse.

Oregon State Police and Salem Police were able to get the protesters out of the capitol building, which is closed due to coronavirus restrictions, the Oregon State Police said in a news release. Two people were arrested for refusing to leave the building.

Lt. Teven Upkes of Salem Police told the Statesman Journal that pepper balls were used at one point during the protest. (RELATED: Screaming Teacher From Lockdown Protest Viral Video Placed On Leave)

“At one point we used pepper balls,” Upkes said. “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.”

Upkes said that he’s unsure what other crowd control munitions were used during the demonstration besides pepper balls.

“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,” he told the newspaper.

Statesman Journal reporter Virginia Barreda said that blue tear gas was used on the protesters at one point during the demonstration. A video shows a crowd of protesters, many carrying American flags, chanting “shame on you” and “traitors” as blue smoke appears. Once the blue smoke reaches the crowd, many people begin coughing and retreating.

A special session was being held Monday at the Oregon Capitol for the Oregon Legislature to consider providing relief funds for landlords and tenets and extending the state’s eviction moratorium due to the coronavirus pandemic. The legislation being considered would provide $150 million to help landlords and $50 million to help tenets. The state’s eviction moratorium would also be extended through July 1, 2021.

Republican State Senator Dallas Heard spoke to the crowd at one point about the state’s mask mandate and coronavirus restrictions, expressing frustration with the policies, according to the Statesman Journal.