March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Several protesters arrested for rushing into Senate chambers

Sam Inglot/City Pulse

Update: 6:23 p.m. — A White House spokesman has issued a statement on behalf of President Obama about the Legislature's action on Right to Work today: "President Obama has long opposed so-called ‘right to work’ laws and he continues to oppose them now. The President believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights. Michigan – and its workers' role in the revival of the US automobile industry – is a prime example of how unions have helped build a strong middle class and a strong American economy."

Update: 5:06 p.m. — The Republican-led House of Representatives has passed a Right to Work bill 58-52 shortly after House Democrats left the chambers in protest of opponents being locked out of the Capitol building. 

Thursday, Dec. 6 — Thousands of protesters have descended upon the Capitol to protest Right to Work legislation. Several protesters were pepper sprayed and arrested for trying to rush the Senate chambers. 

Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk said the arrests occurred outside of the Senate chambers around noon. He said the protesters “disobeyed” orders from two state Police troopers after trying to enter the chambers.

Around 3 p.m., word hit the crowd that the Legislature plans on voting today on Right to Work legislation that was introduced this morning by Gov. Rick Snyder, who was alongside fellow Republicans Speaker of the House Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville. Protesters began chanting shortly thereafter: "No justice! No peace!"

Two platoons of state troopers are on hand to deal with the “three or four thousand” protesters, Adamcyzk said. So far, the protesters have been cooperative apart from the group that was arrested. The Detroit News is reporting that eight have been arrested.

Police are not allowing anyone to enter the Capitol, claiming that the Senate chamber floors are at capacity and it would be dangerous to allow anyone else inside.

UAW President Bob King was forced to stay outside for over an hour before being allowed in. As of 3 p.m. there was still several hundred protesters standing outside the building waiting to get in.

Chants from within the Capitol can be heard from outside; food is being distributed outside by union groups like the SEIU. Several protesters say they plan on staying until the legislation is voted on.

Matt Dzieciolowski, a 27-year-old student from Detroit, says he’s willing to protest as long as it takes.

“I’m here to stand in opposition to the union busting tactics of the Snyder administration and the Michigan state Republicans,” he said. “As long as everyone is willing to stay and fight, I’ll be out here as long as I need to be.”