‘Numerous arrests’: Salem protest an unlawful assembly


Protests began at State Capitol, ended about 5 hours later

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — After 3 hours of mostly peaceful protest at the State Capitol and the governor’s residence by people demanding the state be re-opened, an unlawful assembly was declared as law enforcement faced off with protesters carrying pro-Trump flags

Around 4:30 p.m., the Proud Boys and police clashed at a Salem intersection, where Zane Sparling of the Portland Tribune reported police used some crowd control tactics.

At 5:15 p.m. Salem police tweeted: “Officers continue to deal w/aggressive protestors downtown #salemoregon who have used chemical munitions against officers. Officers have NOT used any CS gas; however, numerous arrests related to criminal behavior have occurred.”

Shortly before 6 p.m., Salem PD tweeted the congestion of pedestrians and vehicles in the area around the Capitol had cleared up.

How it began

Protesters gathered outside the Oregon State Capitol on New Year’s Day, many of them maskless and some of them armed, in one of several expected protests in Salem.

About 100 people listened to speakers before marching to Mahonia Hall, the official residence of Gov. Kate Brown, to demand she re-open Oregon. The marchers were met by law enforcement officials in riot gear, who just stood between them and the governor’s residence.

After about 3 hours, the crowd largely dispersed.

The speakers

New Clackamas County Chair Tootie Smith was one of the speakers.

“We can not be shuttered into endless lockdowns, month after month, year after year, hoping that the bug will magically go away,” she told those gathered.

Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson was at the protest, reported Zane Sparling of the Portland Tribune. “Over in China they are laughing at us,” he told the protesters. Governors Kate Brown and Jay Inslee, he said, “all sold us out. That’s an act of war.”

Carol Leek was one of the protesters at the State Capitol in Salem demanding Gov. Brown re-open Oregon, January 1, 2021 (KOIN)

One of the protesters, Carol Leek, told KOIN 6 News they were there “to stand up for our First Amendment rights and stand up against tyranny. We want Oregon to open. Today’s a good day. It’s the beginning of a new year and we want to start it off right.”

After about an hour of speeches, the protesters marched from the Capitol to Mahonia Hall, the official residence of Gov. Brown. As they marched, police made a very visible presence.

Leek was among those who marched to the governor’s official residence. “We have a bullhorn if anyone wants to say anything,” she said, adding their message to Brown is to “open up. It’s time. We’ve had enough.”

Multiple law enforcement agencies prepared for several protests expected to take place at the Oregon State Capitol, Brush Pasture Park and Mahonia Hall (the official residence of Gov. Kate Brown), Oregon State Police said.

OSP troopers and Salem police officers were at the protests to help keep the events safe for participants and people in the community, prevent criminal behavior, protect property and keep traffic moving normally. Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office also provided assistance.

This protest came on the heels of an unlawful assembly at the State Capitol as lawmakers met for a special legislative session.

Protesters gained entry to the State Capitol early Monday, Dec. 21, and tried again that afternoon to enter while lawmakers convened to vote on pandemic relief and an eviction moratorium extension, among other topics. Four people were arrested throughout the day for charges including trespassing and assaulting a police officer.

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