The organizer of planned daily demonstrations at the Washington state Capitol to protest a lack of access to the upcoming remote legislative session has announced he is canceling the event.
The announcement Wednesday night by organizer Tyler Miller came at the end of a tumultuous day, after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Meanwhile, in Olympia, demonstrators Wednesday made it past a gate outside the official residence of Gov. Jay Inslee and chanted slogans outside. They left after a brief standoff with the Washington State Patrol.
Miller had been promoting a daily protest to start Sunday, the day before the Legislature convenes. He has contended that the lack of access to the closed Capitol building, shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, violates the state constitution.
Lawmakers will largely be meeting remotely this session, in committee and floor sessions that will be streamed on tvw.org.
From the outset, Miller has stressed repeatedly that his demonstration would be a peaceful affair, and he had discouraged agitation.
But in a Facebook Live event through his organization, Hazardous Liberty, he said Wednesday’s events changed his mind.
“We can be peaceful and respectful, forceful and persistent,” Miller told his audience.
But there are always people who have “other intentions” and who could go on to agitation at the protests, he said later.
In an interview Wednesday night, Miller said he believed his demonstrations would have been successful, but the risk was too great.
He added: “It’s become an explosive situation.”
Miller has said that demonstrators were planning to try to enter the closed Capitol on a daily basis.
But “we’re not there to cause trouble, we’re not there to break down doors, to occupy the building,” said Miller, 40, an engineering technician, in an interview last week. “We’re there simply to observe our constitutional right.”
The Legislature’s scheduled 105-day session begins Monday. Lawmakers will gather in person Monday for the first day before going largely remote after that. To facilitate the session, some staff and lawmakers will be in the Capitol, which has been closed to the public for months.