In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, pro-abortion protesters across the country have taken to the streets to express their displeasure, but in Phoenix, Arizona Friday night, such demonstrations turned serious when activists attempted to breach the Capitol building and posed a “direct threat” to the lawmakers inside, as the Washington Examiner reports.
Not only did activists effectively trap legislators who were in session within the Senate building itself, they also vandalized statues and historical monuments in the surrounding plaza, spray painting vulgar slogans such as “F*** SCOTUS,” as the Daily Wire notes.
Chaos in Phoenix
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS), the evening’s events initially took the form of a peaceful demonstration comprised of between 7,000 and 8,000 individuals, but ultimately took a menacing and dangerous turn when the crowd attempted to enter the Capitol building.
“What began as a peaceful protest evolved into anarchical and criminal actions by masses of splinter groups,” a statement from AZDPS indicated. “As groups realized the state legislature was in session, they attempted to breach the doors of the Arizona Senate and force their way into the building.
“The violence of their efforts literally shook the building and terrified citizens and lawmakers who occupied the building. As the glass doors bowed from attempts of forced entry, the occupants of the building were instructed to move to secure locations,” the statement added.
Police were eventually forced to deploy tear gas to disperse the mass of protesters and retake control of the Senate facility, as Fox News reported.
A number of those unable to leave the premises during the unrest posted frightening accounts on social media in real-time and afterward, with Republican state Sen. Kelly Townsend writing, “We are currently there being held hostage inside the Senate building due to members of the public trying to breach our security. We smell teargas and the children of one of the members are in the office sobbing with fear.”
Analogizing the situation to the protests at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 that have prompted far-reaching probes and criminal charges, Townsend added, “I expect a J24 committee to be created immediately.”
State Sen. Wendy Rogers chronicled her observations on Twitter as well, writing, “Protesters threatened to break the AZ Senate entryway glass,” adding that while the “[c]rowd was dispersed with tear gas,” the protests were ongoing and the situation was still “very dangerous,” as the New York Post noted.
Once the mass of demonstrators dissipated, the lawmakers were able to resume their session and continue voting, though operations were moved to a secure portion of the building, with Townsend declaring, “Everyone is okay and we are finishing our work.”
Battle lines form
It did not take long for reactions to the evening’s events to split along partisan lines, with GOP state Sen. Karen Fann declaring the protest as “a blatant attempt at an insurrection,” and Senate Democrats declaring that characterization to be “misinformation and fearmongering” meant to “deflect from the actions of January 6th.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake for her part, declared the actions of the pro-abortion mob to be “domestic terrorism,” and said they are “out for blood,” and unfortunately, given recent promises of an impending “Summer of Rage” at the hands of those enraged by the end of Roe, she may be correct.