Nine people entered the State House illegally today, but no one was arrested.
A group of nine people forced their way past security into the Massachusetts State House Wednesday to protest the building being closed to the public and COVID-19 safety measures.
According to The Boston Globe, the protesters pushed past a DCR ranger around 10:30 a.m. and stayed in the building until about 12:30 p.m. when police told them they had to leave or they would be arrested. No arrests were made.
State House News Service reported that the protestors were equipped with bullhorns and whistles, and chanted slogans against COVID-19 safety mandates put in place by Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, and other elected officials.
People on scene heard the protesters shouting everything from “open the State House to the people” to “Hey Baker, leave our kids alone,” “Ban the vaccine, save the kids,” and “Our kids are not lab rats.”
Mike Deehan of GBH described the protest in a tweet: “This protest has turned to 10% about the State House not being open and 90% about how Charlie Baker is a ‘medical raper’ and Michelle Wu is a fascist. You get the idea.”
The protest happened while Baker was announcing the end of the statewide mask mandate for schools, but did not disrupt it, State House News reported. They also said a House session began on time at 11 a.m. without disruption.
The Globe reported that 31-year-old Dorchester resident Catherine Vitale told reporters she was part of the group that entered the building, as well as a group that has protested outside Mayor Wu’s house.
She told them that they have not been able to protest outside the governor’s house, so they came to the State House.
“We just came to witness the press conference really to try to face Baker because he’s not accessible anywhere else,” she said
Vitale told reporters she came to protest vaccine mandates that have forced healthcare workers, among others, to leave their jobs.
Another protester who wouldn’t give her name to State House News said the group was there to protest all COVID-19 mandates.
Those on scene reported that there was a heavy police presence around the State House.
The State House has been closed to the public since the pandemic began, but Senate President Karen Spilka told State House News it could reopen soon with safety precautions.
“I remain optimistic that we can invite the public back to the State House sometime this month. In order to open safely, and to protect the health of all of our visitors, staff and members, I believe we must establish a vaccine requirement and ask those entering the State House to wear masks during their visit,” Spilka said in a statement to the news service Wednesday. “Those protocols and the reopening timeline remain under discussion.”
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