Several viral videos show armed Trump supporters breaking into the Oregon State Capitol and clashing with police on Monday as they protested a closed legislative session to discuss COVID-19 relief.
Police declared the protest an “unlawful assembly” after several protesters attempted to force their way into the capitol building. Lawmakers were debating an $800 million relief measure to help Oregonians affected by COVID-19 and the summer’s wildfires.
A series of escalating Reddit clips shows tensions boiling over as protesters continued their attempts to gain entry into the capitol building. At least a few of them were successful, according to the Statesman Journal, which reported that several protesters managed to break into the capitol.
Oregon State Police and Salem police managed to remove all trespassers from the building and arrested at least two, according to KTVZ.
The protests began around 8:30am. Many in the gathered crowd wore pro-Trump attire and openly carried firearms. Their regalia included military helmets and shirts with the American flag or pro-America slogans.
Police took a 41-year-old man into custody around 10:30am after he used bear mace on them. He faces charges of trespassing and assaulting a police officer. Footage shows at least one use of a chemical agent by protesters, though the chaotic clip doesn’t clearly show the person wielding the spray.
The protest continued into the afternoon. Another Reddit video shows a group of men attempting to enter the building by shattering a pair of glass doors. At least one man is successful, kicking out the bottom of one door before the video ends.
He was also taken into custody, according to police.
Trump supporters repeatedly harassed a journalist who was on-site to document the protest. Footage shows protesters assailing the masked journalist both verbally and physically, shoving him into walls and screaming at him to “get out” before a black-clad man comes to his aid.
Another clip, which sports distorted, garbled audio, claims to show police pepper-spraying protesters. Troopers told KTVZ that they did not deploy tear gas, but they did use “inert pepper ball” in an attempt to control the situation.
The protest eventually fizzled out. In a statement, Oregon police pleaded with protesters to cease their vandalism.
“The Oregon State Police encourage people to exercise their First Amendment rights, but it must be lawfully,” the statement reads. “Please, discontinue the acts of vandalism or destruction of property. If you commit a crime, you will be subject to arrest.”
Oregon officials met in a special session to discuss a bill intended to provide coronavirus relief to Oregon citizens and businesses. The bill includes an eviction moratorium, $200 million in relief for landlords and tenants, and a restaurant relief package, to name a few.
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