Portland has been the epicenter of protests this past year, but this week, Salem, Ore., is the one drawing attention, as Oregon State Police declared an unlawful assembly for protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions. A video also spread across social media of anti-lockdown protestors kicking in the glass doors of the State Capitol Building.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that “police officers donned gas masks as they squared off with protesters, some of whom carried firearms and bear spray, and many of whom were not wearing masks. A growing number of protesters pushed their way through the Capitol doors chanting, “Let us in” and “Arrest Kate Brown.”
The protestors had reportedly assembled to express their displeasure with statewide orders promoted as coronavirus mitigation strategies, with some demanding Gov. Brown be apprehended. Lawmakers inside the Capitol were holding a special session to approve legislation dealing with the pandemic. Four protestors were arrested during the protests.
The Statesman Journal reported that protestor David Klaus spoke to the assembled crowd, saying, “I’m very proud of everybody that showed up today. We accomplished two very important things. … We put the fear of God in the citizens of our state. They know we’re not messing around anymore.
“Number two: We shamed the traitorous law enforcement officers that kept us out of our house,” Klaus continued. “They made their choice today—what happens next is on them.”
The Oregon State Police released a statement saying, “The Oregon State Police encourage people to exercise their first amendment rights, but it must be lawfully. Please, discontinue the acts of vandalism or destruction of property. If you commit a crime you will be subject to arrest.”