2 arrested as WA legislature convenes under tight security

Washington

The Capitol is closed to the public because of the pandemic

Members of the Washington National Guard stand along a perimeter fence at the Governor’s Mansion, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee activated members of the National Guard this week to work with the Washington State Patrol to protect the Capitol campus ahead of the state Legislature opening its 2021 legislative session Monday, as several protests and rallies are expected. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state’s Legislature is convening under a large security presence amid concerns about efforts by armed groups who might try to disrupt the proceedings.

The Washington State Patrol said a woman was arrested at the Capitol Campus after using a recreational vehicle to block a roadway and refusing to move it. A few hours later, a second person was arrested for failure to comply with a lawful order while attempting to enter a restricted area.

The Capitol is closed to the public because of the pandemic and lawmakers were scheduled to convene late Monday morning. A right-wing militia initially encouraged its members to occupy the Capitol when the Legislature starts its 105-day legislative session. An organizer canceled the event but said he expected some people might show up to create mayhem.

Several dozen protesters were gathered outside the Capitol building on Sunday as well, despite surrounding fencing and National Guard members. Some were there to oppose vaccines, others were supporters of President Donald Trump and some were there to object to the closure of the building to the public during the upcoming legislative session.

Sunday’s event was small and peaceful, with many people leaving the area by 3 p.m., in comparison to another protest that took place Wednesday where Trump loyalists stormed the governor’s property in Olympia.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this story by the Associated Press.

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