OLYMPIA — Several hundred protesters, many of them chanting slogans from the “Occupy” movement, are in and around the Capitol rotunda. But perhaps only for the time being.
The director of Enterprise Services said just minutes ago that the protesters will not be allowed to stay in the building overnight. Black-clad state troopers carrying large duffel bags have arrived in the Capitol's basement, and other troopers are in evidence at all entrances.
The lights on the rotunda “holiday tree”, which had been lit a few minutes earlier, were turned off. There's been no request to clear the building, yet, but one is expected shortly.
While most protesters are chanting “We won't pull back” and “We shall not be movoed” to the beat of drums, a handful are donning green T-shirts that identify them as “legal observers.”
Entrance to the building was closed about 5:30 p.m., and when a group tried to push their way through doors on the north side, three people were arrested.
Shortly afterwards, black-clad troopers stood at the top of the steps leading into the House and Senate chambers, apparently awaiting orders to move down the steps and push the protesters to exits.
Protesters, meanwhile, continued their chants, land did a “mike check” in which the group repeats what one demonstrater says, that told troopers: “Officers. We support your pensions.”