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Man arrested at WA capitol part of group that breached gate at governor’s mansion

The scene outside the capitol campus in Olympia as the 2021 legislative session began on Jan. 11. (Hanna Scott/KIRO Radio)

The Washington State Patrol arrested two people at the state capitol campus on Monday as the 2021 legislative session kicked off. WSP reported that the second arrest — a 30-year-old male — was also determined to have been one of the people that breached a gate at the governor’s mansion last Wednesday.

Troopers say on Monday the man failed to comply with a lawful order after attempting to enter a restricted area.

WSP announced the first arrest shortly after 8:20 a.m., taking a woman using an RV to block a roadway into custody. The woman reportedly “refused to comply with orders to move.”

“This situation created a security concern and was dealt with appropriately,” state patrol said on Twitter.

After a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, state officials are hoping to avoid a similar scenario in Olympia this week, especially in the shadow of threats made online in recent days.

“Due to information posted online and recent events, we have to take precautions and be prepared,” Washington State Patrol Trooper Darren Wright said Monday, pointing out that the capitol building in Olympia has actually been closed since March over concerns related to COVID-19.

State patrol, National Guard set up extra security in Olympia

Gov. Jay Inslee authorized up to 750 Washington State National Guard members “and a large number of Washington State Patrol troopers” to act as additional security at the capitol campus to start the week. On Monday, WSP noted that these added measures will be in place for “as long as needed.”

There will be space on campus for people to exercise their First Amendment rights, but there will also be restricted areas open only for legislators and staff. The statement from the governor says these areas will be clearly delineated by fencing and security.

At least one group — Liberty, At All Hazards — was helping to organize an action to protest the fact that the public cannot enter legislative chambers this year to see and interact with legislators in person. But a member of the group, Tyler Miller, told KIRO Radio their plans have changed.

“The likelihood of our event being infiltrated and hijacked was just too great to risk other peoples’ lives,” Miller said.

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