OLYMPIA – The Washington Legislature begins its session today (Monday) under the protection of the Washington National Guard. The move comes in the wake of a protest on Wednesday when a group of people breached the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion.
“In light of the most recent insurrection activity, the state cannot tolerate any actions that could result in harm, mayhem, or interruption of function of democratic institutions,” Inslee wrote in a prepared release. “Any illegal intrusion of the capitol, state buildings, or restricted areas will not be tolerated.”
Inslee said the actions in Washington, D.C. and Olympia last week cannot be repeated and were completely unacceptable. He said plenty of space will be provided to peaceful demonstrators.
“There will be acres of areas for people to exercise their First Amendment rights on the Capitol Campus,” Inslee stated. “There will be restricted access in certain areas that are open only to legislators and staff. These areas will be clearly delineated by fencing and security personnel.”
Inslee has activated the Washington State National Guard in coordination with the Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement.
“I am authorizing up to 750 members of the guard and a large number of Washington State Patrol troopers to be on hand in addition to the regular Capitol Campus security contingent,” Inslee wrote.