Police deployed tear gas late on Friday in efforts to disperse protesters who gathered at the Arizona Capitol building in Phoenix in the wake of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that tossed out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly after several among the thousands of protesters began hitting glass walls and doors of the state Capitol building, with one person having smashed a window at the state Department of Agriculture building on Adams Street, reported The Arizona Republic.
Afterward, SWAT team members with the state’s Department of Public Safety fired tear gas from the building to disperse the protesters, KPHO-TV reported. It wasn’t immediately known if there were injuries or arrests.
Lawmakers in the Arizona Senate were forced to halt their meeting temporarily around 8:30 p.m. due to the commotion outside. The senators proceeded to huddle for about 20 minutes in a basement inside the building as they rushed to complete their 2022 session, said State Sen. Martin Quezada, a Democrat.
Stinging tear gas wafted through the Capitol afterward via the system that circulates the air, forcing the Senate to move its proceedings to a hearing room instead of the Senate chamber.
The tear gas lingered in the courtyard between the state’s Senate and House buildings. Crowds had left the area by 9:30 p.m., according to reports.
“Protesters threatened to break the AZ Senate entryway glass,” State Sen. Wendy Rogers, a Republican, wrote on Twitter while she and other senators were voting on a series of bills. She said the protesters were “a mix of anti-life protesters, anti-education choice protestors, and Antifa.”
According to the Arizona Daily Independent, a Planned Parenthood protest began at 6 p.m. at the Arizona Capitol, followed by a protest organized by the Phoenix Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Phoenix branch of Radical Women an hour later.