Washington Capitol: Protesters stand firm as legislative session convenes

Washington
Ted S. Warren

A member of the Washington National Guard stands at a sundial near the Washington State Library Building, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee activated members of the National Guard this week to work with the Washington State Patrol to protect the Capitol campus ahead of the state Legislature opening its 2021 legislative session Monday, as several protests and rallies are expected.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Just as Washington state politicians feared, protestors have arrived at the state capitol building in Olympia as officials meet for a legislative session.

Earlier today, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) held an impromptu press conference updating the community on their security measures and more. Protestors arrived at the press meeting to express their displeasure with the WSP presence at the capitol.

The National Guard is nearby to support WSP troopers as they protect the capitol building from a possible invasion like what occurred in Washington D.C. last week.

When asked about possible breaches at the capitol, WSP officials said “We’re not going to let that happen.”

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According to KXLY’s Maher Kawash, arrests have already been made this morning. He says that protestors threatened to charge the entrance of the Capitol at 11:00 p.m. Only one man walked toward a group of Washington Capitol Campus police with his hands raised and was promptly seized by local authorities.

Tensions are high and a sector of Washington state is thoroughly upset. Kawash got the perspective of one protestor, Kelli Stewart, who believes people have the right to be in government buildings like the Washington state Capitol.

The Inlander’s Daniel Walters provided context on Stewart in the following tweet:

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Update at 11:33 a.m. PST: Protestors have begun to use bullhorns to voice their displeasure with government-mandated restrictions on business in Washington.

They’ve also expressed displeasure with the way authorities are handling the security of the Washington state capitol. In the following tweet (NSFW), another man can be heard voicing his displeasure with bias in media:

Update at 11:33 p.m. PST: Washington State Patrol says the 30-year-old man shown previously facing a charge of failure to comply with a lawful order. The man was previously warned about what would happen if he decided to pass the restricted area and decided to do it without regard to the consequences.

Meanwhile, WSP says that rain and security played a factor in the turnout at today’s protests. This is just one of many protests ranging from fewer than 100 protestors up to approx. 2,500 protestors since April 2020.

This is a developing story. Updates will be provided as information breaks throughout the day.