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Budget rallies rack up huge WSP OT bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington State Patrol says its officers racked up an estimated $50,000 in overtime during last week’s budget demonstrations at the state Capitol.

The four days of rallies drew thousands of protesters to Olympia, where lawmakers are considering spending cuts to address a looming $5 billion budget deficit. Small groups of people slept inside the main legislative building for three consecutive nights.

State Patrol spokesman Robert Calkins says the agency brought in extra officers to provide round-the-clock security. He says $50,000 is a preliminary estimate.

The protests yielded 17 arrests - 16 for disorderly conduct and one for the alleged assault of two state troopers.

Calkins says officers spotted several lingering protesters carrying gas masks Saturday. State Patrol and the Department of General Administration obtained a court order that day temporarily barring the public from staying overnight inside the Capitol.