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Police released tear gas, lawmakers were “held hostage” in the Senate building.

Police officers in Phoenix, Arizona, used tear gas to disperse a sizable group of protesters outside the state Senate building after the US Supreme Court ruled to uphold the landmark Roe v. pick up calf.

“Protesters threatened to break the AZ Senate entrance glass,” Arizona Republican Senator Wendy Rogers tweeted as members voted on a series of bills.

The situation escalated to a “hostage” situation when lawmakers were ordered not to exit the building, Arizona Republican Senator Kelly Townsend said.

The Republican state Senate caucus later called the protest an attempted “insurgency.”

“We are currently being held hostage in the Senate building because members of the public are attempting to breach our security,” Townsend tweeted Friday night. “We smell tear gas and the children of one of the members are sobbing with fear in the office.”

“My understanding is that a J24 committee will be established immediately,” she added, referring to the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol riot.

According to lawmakers, police officers then used tear gas to disperse the crowd and regain control of the building.

“Crowds were dispersed with tear gas.” Rogers added, noting that the protests were still ongoing and the situation remained “very dangerous”.

Another lawmaker confirmed the use of tear gas outside the building.

“While we were working inside, we were interrupted by the sound of bangs and the smell of tear gas,” MP Sarah Liguori tweeted on Friday night. “Protesters evacuated from the Capitol.”

Heavily armed officers were seen in and around the Parliament building.

Following the US Supreme Court decision in Roe v.  Wade protesters can be seen in front of the Arizona State Capitol.
Protesters are being held in the wake of the US Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade seen in front of the Arizona State Capitol.
Twitter / Michelle Ugenti-RITA

Crowds of protesters have since dispersed and lawmakers resumed their legislative plan in a safe room.

“We’re going to a safe room to vote,” Rogers said.

“Everyone is fine and we’re finishing up work,” Townsend added.

“God bless you,” Townsend exclaimed.

“I feel safe in the Capitol as I sit next to three of my armed fellow senators,” added Arizona state legislator Warren Petersen.

In the hours following the situation, several members thanked law enforcement officers who were protecting the Capitol.

“We’re safe inside … God bless law enforcement,” Rodgers said.

The Republican State Senate caucus also commended law enforcement for preventing an “insurgency.”

“The riot attempts by violent abortion protesters in the Arizona Senate were thwarted Friday night, thanks to swift action by local and state law enforcement agencies,” said Kim Quintero, communications director for the Republican caucus.

The GOP group said the “extremist demonstrations” were carried out by people “trying to force their way in [to the building] by smashing windows and knocking down doors.”

“We are incredibly grateful to our local law enforcement agencies, who responded quickly to a potentially destructive and dangerous situation for our Senate members, staff and the public,” said Senate President Karen Fann.

Friday was the last day of the session for state senators, who completed a series of voting after the suspension.

The votes included a massive expansion of the state’s private school voucher system, which was passed by Parliament earlier this week.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday afternoon upheld Roe v. Wade, effectively giving each state the power to allow, restrict, or ban the practice as it sees fit.

Beginning June 24, Planned Parenthood of Arizona paused all abortions, both medical and surgical. According to AZ Central, seven out of nine licensed providers in the state stopped abortions immediately.

Arizona has competing laws that either ban the procedure entirely or limit it to 15 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law the 15-week abortion limit law in March.

The old law, created in Arizona’s territorial days, strictly forbids abortion. It also calls for a mandatory prison sentence of two to five years for violators. The only exception to the ban is abortion, which is necessary to save a woman’s life.

The Republican majority in the state Senate said Friday that the old law, which bans abortion outright, is enforceable. It is still unclear which law takes precedence. The state court system, likely the Arizona Supreme Court, will have to resolve the matter.

At least 13 states have previously passed so-called “trigger laws” banning most abortions following the Supreme Court decision. These occur immediately or within weeks of the repeal of Roe v. Wade in force.

Those states include Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research group.

https://nypost.com/2022/06/25/arizona-abortion-protest-police-release-tear-gas-lawmakers-held-hostage-in-senate-building/ Police released tear gas, lawmakers were “held hostage” in the Senate building.

JACLYN DIAZ

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