PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Officials say that Republican State Rep. Mike Nearman let protesters into the Oregon Capitol building, which was closed to the public, during a special legislative session in December.
The far-right protest held in opposition to statewide COVID-19 restrictions attracted hundreds of people. Protestors assaulted reporters, attacked authorities with bear spray and broke glass doors.
It is not immediately clear if and what consequences the lawmaker will face.
After another demonstration on Wednesday, the Oregon State Police says it is aware of “rumors” that armed groups are considering taking over the state Capitol and warned that anyone attempting that would be arrested. The agency is also asking Oregonians to report anyone who may be planning an armed takeover to authorities.
Many armed and angry supporters of President Donald Trump gathered Wednesday at the statehouse and burned a life-size puppet of Gov. Kate Brown in effigy.
Police declared an unlawful assembly and made two arrests. The pro-Trump crowd was rallying around false allegations of election fraud as an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner, a Democrat representing Lake Oswego, issued a statement comparing the Salem demonstrations to the insurrection in Washington D.C.
“Violent actions at Oregon’s Capitol preceded those in Washington D.C., and I know this is not the trailblazing for which our great state should be known," Sen. Wagner said. “Anyone who causes harm or who puts others in harm’s way has no place in the Oregon State Capitol, which is a building of honor and of service."
“What has particularly shocked me is the fact that members of this Legislature have blatantly encouraged and abetted violence," Wagner continued. "We should demand that our State Capitol, where we convene empowered by the Oregon Constitution to do the people’s work, is free from violence and intimidation. We must hold accountable those that encourage acts of hate and threaten our democracy.”