In events reminiscent of the Jan. 6 incursion at the national Capitol, pro-abortion protesters tried to break into the Arizona state Senate in Phoenix Friday night while the legislature was still in session.
Police in riot gear responded but remained as onlookers until protesters converged on the Senate building.
Arizona Capitol pic.twitter.com/sf8UcFvByD
— Michelle Ugenti-RITA (@MichelleUgenti) June 25, 2022
— AZ Right Wing Watch (@az_rww) June 25, 2022
The protest took an aggressive tone at about 8:45 p.m., when protesters began banging on the windows of the Arizona Senate and trying to break the glass, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Republican Sen. Kelly Townsend called the incident a “hostage” situation.
“We are currently there being held hostage inside the Senate building due to members of the public trying to breach our security,” Townsend tweeted Friday night. “We smell tear gas and the children of one of the members are in the office sobbing with fear.”
“Appalling to hear some Democrats defending those outside trying to break the glass and breach security,” she also wrote.
Appalling to hear some Democrats defending those outside trying to break the glass and breach security. “This is a public building, and they wouldn’t let them in.” However another Democrat mad as heck for them scaring the children in the building.
— Senator Kelly Townsend ?? (@AZKellyT) June 25, 2022
— Abe Hamadeh for Arizona AG (@AbrahamHamadeh) June 25, 2022
Breaking: A left-wing mob angry about the overturning of #RoeVWade attempted to break their way into the Arizona state capitol in Phoenix while lawmakers were in session. The mob was dispersed by DPS who fired off tear gas. #Insurrection pic.twitter.com/zeowz70pAx
— Andy Ngô ?️? (@MrAndyNgo) June 25, 2022
Members of the crowd, estimated at several hundred people, began to kick the locked exterior doors in what appeared to be an attempt to force them open.
Shortly after this, tear gas was deployed to disperse the crowd.
The Department of Public Safety said a second use of tear gas was required to clear protesters from nearby Wesley Bolin plaza after a monument was vandalized.
Prior to the use of tear gas, Republican Senate President Karen Fann cleared the floor, describing her action as a response to a “security situation.”
“We are incredibly thankful for our local law enforcement who quickly intervened during what could have been a destructive and dangerous situation for our members, staff and public inside the Senate,” Fann said in a statement.
The Senate later continued its work in a hearing room.
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