Wild video shows a group of anti-lockdown protestors in Oregon kicking in the door of the State Capitol building amid violent clashes with police and reporters.
It was part of a non-permitted flash mob demonstration promoted by the far-right Vancouver, Washington group Patriot Prayer.
Footage posted by journalist Sergio Olmos shows agitators body slamming and kicking in the door to the statehouse following a morning of standoffs that led to the arrest of at least three people.
The unrest stemmed from a contentious special legislative session that began with a Republican state senator ripping off his mask on the chamber floor, according to the Oregonian.
Democratic Gov. Kate Brown called lawmakers back to Salem to pass COVID-19 relief bills that would extend the state’s eviction moratorium, compensate landlords, raise revenue for restaurants and allocate money for emergency responses.
During roll call, Sen. Dallas Heard objected to state coronavirus policies that bar members of the public from the capitol building and require lawmakers to wear masks, the paper reports.
“This is yet another illegitimate session” due to those exclusions, Heard told the senate president before quoting from the bible, “adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces”
“This is (God’s) kingdom, not yours,” he added, suggesting the senate president did not have authority to enforce the measures.
Heard removed his mask and walked out of the chamber to address demonstrators who began infiltrating the building.
Oregon State Police said they were sprayed with a chemical agent and used “inert pepper balls” to deal with the protestors.
Two hours later, troopers said they teamed up with the Salem Police Department to push the crowd out of the building when another suspect — identified as 41-year-old Ryan Lyles — used bear spray against the officers.
Tensions flared again in the early afternoon, when demonstrators returned to the statehouse where footage shows them assaulting reporters and vandalizing the building.
Lyles and at least two other suspects were arrested.
One man who broke into the capitol remains at large.
“The Oregon State Police encourage people to exercise their first amendment rights, but it must be lawfully,” the agency said in a statement. “Please, discontinue the acts of vandalism or destruction of property. If you commit a crime you will be subject to arrest.”
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