Police used tear gas to disperse people protesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade late Friday at the Arizona Senate building after some of them knocked on the glass doors, an Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesperson confirmed to CNN.
The protest in Phoenix was one of many nationwide that came after the Supreme Court struck down the half-century-old Roe v. Wade precedent that protected access to abortion care in the U.S. The ruling leaves decisions on abortion access to the states.
Video shared on Twitter by Republican state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita from inside the building shows protesters with signs chanting outside the doors of the state Capitol and banging at the glass doors. Some lawmakers were inside, working on legislation.
Tear gas was deployed around 8:30 p.m. from the second floor of the building, the Arizona Republic reported. Hundreds of protesters retreated as the tear gas floated around the Capitol grounds. Lawmakers inside the building could smell tear gas, according to Democratic state Rep. Sarah Liguori.
Video shared on Twitter shows the crowd running away as police fire tear gas at them from the windows of the building.
The protesters moved on to Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza in downtown Phoenix. Police again used tear gas after a monument was vandalized. The crowds left the area and police blocked off access to the Capitol grounds.
It’s unclear whether any arrests were made. The Arizona Department of Safety did not immediately respond to a request for more information.
Republican state Sen. Kelly Townsend claimed lawmakers were being “held hostage” inside the building due to the protesters at the doors. She later tweeted that everyone was OK and continuing with their work.
The legal status of abortion in Arizona is currently unclear. Abortion providers including Planned Parenthood have paused abortions in the state pending legal clarity. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich claimed a new anti-abortion law would go into effect in 90 days. But there are competing laws on the books and it’s unclear which law would take precedence.
Nationwide protests against the Supreme Court decision are set to continue throughout the weekend, with events being planned by Bans Off Our Bodies, Women’s March and NARAL.
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