Oregon State Police declare unlawful assembly after right-wing group tries to storm Capitol

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Oregon State Police declared an unlawful assembly at the State Capitol in Salem on Monday after demonstrators pushed their way into the building, and law enforcement officers forcefully shoved some of them away and deployed blue smoke to disperse the group.

Tim Gruver of The Center Square, a conservative-leaning outlet, reported that at least two protesters were led away by state police.

The protest, billed as "Reopen Oregon," began as lawmakers are in the state Capitol for a single-day special legislative session to vote on coronavirus relief provisions, including moving $600 million into the state's coronavirus and wildfire recovery fund, KGW8 reported. The demonstration comes after Democratic Gov. Kate Brown extended Oregon's state of emergency expiration date from Jan. 2 to March 3.

"Everyone in Oregon should go to the capitol Monday 8 am to have your voice heard. Everyone in Washington be ready for [Gov. Jay] Inslee to follow. If you can't make it until March with your business closed then open your doors now," Joey Gibson of right-wing group Patriot Prayer wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Gibson was present at Monday's demonstration, Gruver reported.

Protesters began moving toward the Capitol building around 9:15 a.m. and the state police declared an unlawful assembly a few minutes later. A police spokesman did not immediately respond to a Fox news inquiry. 

Salem police made at least two arrests, the Statesman Journal reported. The paper reported some protesters unleashed a chemical agent that filled one area of the building. 

"It’s unnerving," said State Sen. Shemia Fagan, a Democrat who will be sworn in as Secretary of State in January. "It doesn’t feel normal. And it feels really sad.

Livestreamed video showed protesters inside the building facing down law enforcement and asking them if they were prepared to arrest all of the demonstrators.

"We just want to go into the budget meeting," one demonstrator said to law enforcement officers blocking their way into the building.

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Some protesters with Trump flags and video cameras could be seen outside the building. Police armed with batons and tactical gear pushed them away from the building with a SWAT vehicle present outside, Gruver reported.

Troopers used a loudspeaker to inform the group that anyone who failed to disperse would be arrested on disorderly and trespassing charges. Around 11 a.m., some protesters went behind a fenced-off area at the front of the building and removed a tarp. 

The fencing was part of renovations to the building. 

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The Salem Police Department advised residents to avoid the Capitol area and said they would close streets "as needed" on Monday morning. 

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