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The legislature was in session when protesters began banging on the glass doors of the state Senate building, authorities said.
Law enforcement officials in Arizona deployed tear gas against abortion rights protesters outside the state capitol in Phoenix on Friday as thousands gathered across the country in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Earlier tonight, a crowd of protesters were pounding on the glass doors of the Senate building. Part of a door was broken. Tear gas was deployed,” Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bart Graves told NBC News. He said that no arrests were made.
Videos posted on social media showed officers inside the capitol building firing at a crowd of protesters gathered outside.
Later on Saturday, Arizona DPS said in a press release that protesters “attempted to breach the doors of the Arizona Senate and force their way into the building,” adding that their actions “terrified” citizens and lawmakers inside the capitol.
“Due to the direct threat to the occupants of the Senate building and damage to the building itself, Arizona State Troopers took immediate action and utilized tactics including the deployment of field force teams and tear gas,” the press release said.
Republican state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita tweeted a video of law enforcement officers assembling inside the capitol as protesters banged on the windows.
Democratic state Rep. Sarah Liguori tweeted that lawmakers were working inside the capitol when they were “interrupted by the sound of bangs and smell of tear gas.”
Democratic state Sen. Martín Quezada tweeted that he was voting on the floor when he and other lawmakers were “ushered into the basement and told it was because there was a breach of the doors and tear gas was being fired.” They completed their work inside the basement, he said.
With Roe overturned, 26 states are expected to ban abortion early in pregnancy or outright, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research and advocacy group that tracks state legislation. But abortion care will continue to be accessible in at least 16 states and the District of Columbia, which have laws in place that protect it as a right. Medication abortions, which have grown to account for more than half of all abortions in the US, are also still an option — though they, too, face opposition from anti-abortion legislators. For people needing to travel out of state for a procedure, abortion funds can help cover the costs.
In Washington, DC, crowds began to gather outside the Supreme Court soon after the decision was announced, and numbers grew as the day continued. A number of protesters told BuzzFeed News that they were tourists who changed their vacation plans in order to demonstrate their opposition to the ruling.
Nationwide protests across the US were largely peaceful, with only a few exceptions.
At approximately 9 p.m. on Friday, law enforcement officers in Los Angeles declared a protest in the city’s downtown area to be an unlawful assembly, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In videos posted to Twitter, Los Angeles police were seen confronting crowds of people that included several members of the press.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the LAPD said that while the majority of the demonstrators were peaceful, a “small group of individuals took to the streets with the intention of creating chaos and destruction.”
The LAPD said they arrested one person at around 9:50 p.m. in the downtown area, alleging that officers were “attacked by the crowd throwing fireworks and other makeshift weapons.”
Police said that most protesters left without further incident at around 11 p.m., and authorities are determining whether anyone was injured.
In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a truck driver rammed into several abortion rights protesters, mostly women, during a peaceful demonstration. Witnesses told HuffPost that one woman was hospitalized after the truck rolled over her ankle. Police said the victim’s injuries were minor, KWWL.com reported.
Disturbing videos shared on social media captured the truck hitting several protesters as a large group was crossing the street.
The police are conducting a “thorough investigation” into the incident, Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell told KWWL.com. “We all have a right to our opinions, but we must act in a peaceful and respectful manner,” she said.
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