At least four of the thousands of protesters who were attempting to occupy the Washington state Capitol were arrested on Monday as lawmakers considered $2 billion in budget cuts. The State Patrol used tasers on three other protesters.
About 3,000 people from Occupy Olympia, unions and social service groups gathered at the Capitol over the course of the day to oppose the funding reductions to education, public safety and health care that have been requested by Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, according to The Associated Press.
“This is not a protest, it’s an occupation,” the crowd chanted as 30-day special legislative session began.
Authorities claim that they were later forced to use tasers on at least three protesters who were trying to get into the building after it had closed.
“Basically what happened was a trooper used his taser on three subjects that were … attempting to get back into the building,” patrol spokesman Dan Coon told The Olympian. “[T]hey used it almost for their own safety to keep the crowd back. … They said it was absolutely necessary to keep the troopers at the door from being trampled … and keep more people from coming into the building.”
By 7 p.m., state troopers began forcibly removing the 100 protesters that remained in the building. Washington State Patrol Sgt. J.J. Gundermann said that 30 people received trespassing citations and three were arrested. A fourth protester had been arrested earlier in the day.
The protesters who were given trespassing citations will not be able to return to the Capitol building or the Occupy encampment at Heritage Park for 30 days.
Watch this video from KOMO, broadcast Nov. 28, 2011.