PHOENIX ( Associated Press) — The U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade, which ended with a volley of tear gas, was described on Saturday as either peaceful or driven by anarchists with destructive intent.
Republican State Senate Speaker Karen Fan issued a statement calling the incident a failed rebellion, while protesters called it a violent overreaction by police, who say they acted without warning or justification.
Statements from the Arizona Department of Public Safety said agents released the gas when a group of 7,000 to 8,000 people gathered at the Capitol Friday night tried to storm the state Senate, where lawmakers held their position. Were working to end the annual session.
Most of the people were peaceful and the state police did not report any arrests or injuries. Although there were both opponents and supporters of abortion rights, the majority of the crowd opposed the Supreme Court’s decision.
At around 8:30, police fired tear gas as dozens of people pressed against the glass wall in front of the Senate, chanting slogans and waving pro-banners. Although most were peaceful, a handful of people banged on the windows and one man tried to forcefully open a sliding glass door.
At the same time, members of the Department of Public Safety’s SWAT team stationed on the second floor of the old Capitol building fired tear gas.
Republican Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita recorded a video showing the view from inside the Senate lobby. Another moment later he showed state soldiers in riot gear forming a line inside the building, facing protesters on the other side of the glass.
The senator said in an interview with the Associated Press on Saturday morning that protesters were apparently trying to break into the closed building.
“They were aggressively hitting the windows in such a way that they could break at any moment,” Ugenti-Rita said. “It wasn’t a knock on a window. I mean, they were trying to break windows.”
In his video, hundreds of protesters can be seen circling the plaza between the House and Senate buildings, while about 100 were close to the glass wall in front of the Senate building.