Idaho Special Session Kicks Off With Unruly Protestors

Aug 24, 2020

Protestors got unruly Monday morning resulting in shattered glass doors at the Idaho Statehouse as lawmakers started a special session of the state legislature to deal with topics related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Idaho Press reports up to 50 protestors were outside on the Capitol steps with signs protesting lawmakers’ plans to vote on a bill that would give many entities immunity from civil liability related to COVID-19. They filed into the building and headed for the fourth floor where public galleries are set aside for both the House and Senate chambers.

But many seats in the House gallery were blocked off as part of social distancing rules. After the remaining seats were filled, that left many protestors outside, behind glass doors and Capitol security.

They began chanting “this is our house,” and pounding on the door, finally shattering the glass and filling up the House gallery.

The aftermath of the broken glass being cleaned up at the statehouse.
Credit Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Speaker Scott Bedke then spoke to the protesters from the House Floor. He said a spokesman for the crowd had told officials they would follow all the House rules, if they were allowed to stay in the gallery with no social distancing. Bedke told the crowd they could not make noise, display signs or stand. Many in the group were not wearing face masks.

A spokeswoman for Idaho State Police said she wasn't aware of any charges pending against protesters who shattered the glass door Monday morning.

Idaho State Police is also charged with enforcing the city of Boise’s mask mandate. Last week, a spokeswoman would not say whether officers would enforce the ordinance.

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio