While a group of pro-Trump demonstrators breached security at the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday, state police said they heard intimations that armed groups might be planning similar activity at the Oregon Capitol in Salem.
“Oregon State Police have heard rumors that armed groups were considering taking over and/or occupying the State Capitols,” OSP said in a news release.
While state police “fully support people’s First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and to gather peacefully,” the agency said, “OSP will not tolerate criminal activities and you will be arrested if you engage in any of these acts.”
Though the doors of the Oregon State Capitol were not breached — as they had been several weeks prior — live reports Wednesday nevertheless showed a chaotic scene, with brawling on the sidewalks outside and smoke bombs flying through the air.
Proud boys fight in front of the Capitol pic.twitter.com/0Zbb62EdWt
OSP said fights broke out in the early afternoon between warring factions of right- and left-wing demonstrators.
“Law enforcement members quickly separated the two groups and worked to keep the two groups separate for the remainder of the day,” OSP said in a statement.
At least two men were arrested: 43-year-old David Willis, of Lincoln City, who was charged with harassment and disorderly conduct, and 39-year-old Cody Melby, who was allegedly seen “attempting to access several doors” at the Capitol and was taken into custody for trespassing while in possession of a firearm.
“The investigation is continuing and more charges are possible after consultation with the Marion County District Attorney,” OSP said. “The security of the capital is our priority, and if you are considering any unlawful activities at the Oregon State Capitol or surrounding areas, please reconsider.”
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