The Latest: WSP says Capitol protests going the way they’d hoped, House and Senate able to convene with no issues
OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Patrol received information about groups planning to “disrupt” Monday’s opening of the state legislative session, prompting Governor Jay Inslee to send 750 National Guard members to the Capitol in preparation.
4 News Now reporter Maher Kawash is in Olympia with the latest updates.
WSP confirmed a man they arrested was the same man who breached Governor Inslee’s property last Wednesday. He now faces criminal trespassing. WSP says they are expecting groups to show up tonight, so troopers and National Guard members will stay at the Capitol.
WSP held a news conference where they announced the day’s events were going the way they had hoped. A sergeant said the House and Senate were able to convene with no issues.
A spokesperson said only a small group of people were at the Capitol Campus exercising their First Amendment rights, but said they had heard of other groups potentially arriving in the coming days.
WSP believes the presence of their troopers and the National Guard, as well as the rain, could be factors in the limited number of people who protested outside of the Capitol.
A protester threatened to charge the entrance of the Capitol at 11 a.m. and was quickly taken into custody by WSP.
Troopers said the man tried to enter the restricted area and was arrested for failure to comply with a lawful order.
Editor’s Note: the video below contains foul language.
Protesters began to gather outside of the capitol, demanding to be let in. Some told 4 News Now they don’t support mobs – like what happened at the U.S. Capitol last week — and said COVID should not stop access to getting inside the state capitol to talk to lawmakers.
Remote testimony is available.
WSP and other state agencies held a news conference to address their plans as protesters began to gather.
A spokesperson for the National Guard would not comment on some guard members being armed; the majority of guardsmen are wearing riot gear.
A woman was arrested at the Capitol Campus. WSP said she used an RV to block a road and refused to comply with orders to move. Troopers said the situation created a security concern and the woman was taken into custody.
Security precautions have been in place since Sunday night and will be amplified through the day in anticipation of protests.
Chris Loftis, Public Information Officer for WSP, said fencing and perimeters have also been set up as a safety precuation.
WSP is preparing for protests, but hopes all will remain peaceful.
“The people’s work will be done today in the state of Washington,” Loftis said. “We can lose a couple of windows, but we’re not going to allow ourselves to lose people and democracy itself.”
Loftis said people protest nearly every day in Olympia and WSP works to protect those rights of free expression. He said WSP will move in when that action turns illegal and starts putting people’s lives at risk.
This story will be updated throughout the day.
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