Eight protesters were arrested inside the Michigan State Capitol today when they attempted to push past police and enter the State Senate while it was in session.
Thousands of protesters have turned out to the Capitol to protest an attempt by Gov. Rick Snyder and state Republicans to pass right-to-work legislation. The protesters, most of them union members, filled the building’s rotunda and chanted slogans critical of the legislation.
At one point, several individuals attempted to push past two state troopers guarding the door to the senate floor. Police used pepper spray to keep them back and made eight arrests “for resisting and obstructing.”
After the arrests, the Capitol doors were closed. State police told CNN that the “exit only” mode was in effect because the capacity of the building had been exceeded. Police estimated 2,000 people were inside the Capitol at the time, with about as many more outside.
Police intend to close the building at its regular time, 5:30 PM. Anyone who refuses to leave will be arrested for trespassing.
The ACLU of Michigan posted a brief video showing state troopers in the Capitol halls shortly after the lockdown began. Crowds can be heard chanting in the background.
Meanwhile outside the Capitol, union members surrounded AFP’s Michigan director Scott Hagerstrom as he attempted to play a recording of President Reagan over a loudspeaker. Several of the protesters can be seen shoving, and one is screaming something in Hagerstrom’s face.