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DPS troopers guard Capitol as protesters gather for opening of Texas Legislative Session

DPS Troopers guard Texas Capitol entrance as protesters gather on opening day of the Texas Legislature Jan. 12, 2021/Associated Press Photo-Jim Vertuno

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) -There were a lot more Department of Public Safety troopers than protesters at the State Capitol on opening day of the 87th Texas Legislature. More than a hundred DPS officers wearing riot gear guarded all entrances to the building with some help from members of the Texas National Guard.  State troopers also patrolled the hallways.

DPS Troopers guard Texas Capitol Jan. 12, 2021/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

 

Demonstrators, some armed with guns and rifles, protested various causes outside.  Allen West, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas,  posed for photos with members of a militia group who were wearing tactical vests and helmets.

Tents were set up outside the North entrance where people were tested for COVID-19 before entering the building.  Matt Long with the Fredericksburg Tea Party was outraged about the virus test requirement.

“This is the people’s House and for us to have to jump through certain hoops and have a medical procedure to get into the building is just not right,” Long said.

He told KTSA News that going to Austin for opening day of the Texas Legislature is a tradition for him, but Tuesday, he didn’t go inside because he didn’t want to have to take a COVID-19 test.

“We believe that the adults who work in this building should be able to make their own risk assessment as to whether or not they want to come and work here,” said Long.  “And we also believe that adult citizens have the ability to make their own risk assessment.”

Matt Long with the Fredericksburg Tea Party protests at the Texas Capitol/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

Members of the Southern Patriot Council, some carrying rifles, spoke out against a proposed change to the so-called Castle Doctrine, which allows a resident to use deadly force to defend his or her home if the resident believes it is necessary. House Bill 196 filed by Democratic State Rep. Terry Meza would add that deadly force can be used only if the resident is “unable to safely retreat.”

“The executive, legislative and judicial branch of the government is now run by people that are going to continue to pass laws to attack gun-owning citizens of America, which is unacceptable,” said Eric Braden.

The protests remained peaceful and there were no incidents.

Southern Patriot  Council  Protesters at Texas Capitol Jan. 12, 2021/Photo-Screenshot-News2Share Video

 

DPS Trooper at Texas Capitol Jan. 12, 2021/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

 

DPS Troopers at Texas Capitol Jan. 12, 2021 /KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

 

Texas State Capitol/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

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