Troopers Haul Away Capitol Protesters 3-15-2011 - WSMV News 4

Troopers Haul Away Capitol Protesters 3-15-2011

Troopers forcibly carried out seven union supporters from the Tennessee's legislative office complex on Tuesday after their protest disrupted a Senate committee hearing.

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The Tuesday rally was a response to Gov. Bill Haslam's Monday night State of the State address. Those at the rally said it's supposed to be a sign of solidarity to let lawmakers know they want them to focus on jobs.
The rally started out of a normal protest of several hundred. Protesters then decided to march to the Capitol, but police wouldn't allow them initially. Protesters then started screaming and chanting, "This is our house."
During an intense standoff, state troopers finally started letting the protesters march on the Capitol one at a time.
Protesters barged into a meeting, and some tried to hold their ground by wrapping their legs around the furniture. Troopers forcibly removed the last few after several minutes of chanting.
"I thought they handled the situation very well, a situation that easily could've gotten out of hand," said Bill Gibbons of the Tennessee Department of Safety.
"They're going to find out that they've stepped on the wrong toes, and it's called a grassroots effort," said one protester.
"I feel like my heritage, I have a right to come into the Capitol and express my opinion as a citizen of Tennessee," another said.
Seven people -- six from Memphis and one from Chattanooga -- were arrested and charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. All had posted bail by Wednesday morning and were released from custody.
One of them was Ashley Henderson.
"Ashley is courageous. She's my hero," said Tamara Henderson, the protester's mother. "And I think that a lot of the people in Chattanooga will be proud of her."
The protests drew the ire of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. He quickly released a statement saying, "This General Assembly will not be intimidated by nomadic bands of professional agitators on spring break, bent on disruption. We talk through our differences here. Tennessee is not Wisconsin."
A coalition of nearly two dozen faith, community and labor organizations converged at about noon demanding good jobs and better wages for Tennesseans. They also called on state lawmakers to support government workers.
Reporter Cara Kumari contributed to this story.

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