About 300 members of the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer and other groups arrived at the “Reopen Oregon” rally calling on governor Kate Brown to lift pandemic restrictions as lawmakers met in a special session to discuss stimulus and vaccination distribution measures.
Protestors used bear spray against police while entering the building before they were pushed out by police using pepper spray, according to the Statesman Journal, whose photographer was shoved by protestors while capturing the event.
Salem Police Lieutenant Treven Upkes told the Journal other chemical munitions may have been used by the crowd.
“When people attempted to come in to the building they actually used pepper spray and other things on officers. In return we used those to separate ourselves and get them to hold that spot. So I don’t know what all was used but I know at least pepper ball was used.
“There may have been other chemical munitions used by the crowd as well on us that seemed to have acted similar to …a CS gas.”
Two arrests were made, with Oregon State Police identifying Ryan Lyles, 41 as charged with trespassing and assaulting a police officer.
Another arrest was made after protesters smashed glass doors trying to enter the building while the demonstrators were heard throughout the day chanting “arrest Kate Brown” and enemy of the state.
In a news release, Oregon State Police confirmed the protestors first entered the Capitol about 8:30am using chemical agents on two different occasions as police used “inert pepper ball”.
“When there were enough resources available between OSP and Salem Police Department, they started to push the crowd out of the building, when another individual used bear spray against police officers,” the statement said.
“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.”
While they still searching for the first protestor to have deployed a chemical agent when entering the building, Oregon State Police announced on Twitter late Monday that a second person had been taken into custody. It was unclear if he it was the person who deployed the chemical agent.
Blue tear gas used by police was captured on video by Statesman Journal reporter Virginia Barreda, who said most scattered away from the building but remained on the ground.
As they disperse they can be heard in the video chanting “stand your grand”, “this is America”, “shame on you”, “tyrant”, and “traitors of Oregon State and the US Constitution.”