Friday, April 8, 2011

17 arrested storming governor's office in Olympia, Wash.

17 arrested storming governor's office in Olympia, Wash. | McClatchy

Seventeen people were arrested after trying to storm the governor’s office in a third day of protests over state budget cuts Thursday.

In a prelude to what unions say will be a bigger rally today, a protest organized by the Service Employees International Union brought about 500 people to Olympia to call on lawmakers to end corporate tax exemptions before cutting state services.

Most protesters rallied in the Rotunda of the Legislative Building Thursday afternoon. Several were eventually arrested when they tried to push past Washington State Patrol officers guarding the governor’s office and refused to leave.

Protesters pushed against troopers stationed at the governor’s door shouting “let us in” and “we want the governor.”

“They (legislators) need to listen to us,” said Sharon Kitchel-Perdue, a home-care worker from Olympia and one of the protesters arrested.

Sgt. John Sager, one of the troopers on the scene, said that some of the protesters said they wanted to be arrested, and eventually, their actions gave troopers no choice.

“It was getting pretty hairy in here,” Sager said.

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