The Massachusetts State House was locked down after people protesting vaccine mandates entered the building during Governor Charlie Baker’s press conference announcing the state was lifting school mask mandates.
The State House has been closed to the public since earlier in the pandemic. Some protesters could be heard chanting, “Open the State House to the people.”
Black wrought iron gates at the Ashburton Park entrance to the State House were locked to the public. State Police SUVs with blinking blue lights lined a nearby curb.
One by one protesters trickled out the back exit. After giving rounds of interviews, they hugged, high fived, and congratulated one another on a “good job, everybody.”
State Police said about 10 protesters pushed past a DCR Ranger entry checkpoint into the State House at about 10:30 a.m. and left shortly before 12:30 p.m. No arrests were made, spokesman Dave Procopio said.
Video of the state house protest pic.twitter.com/VJrySt2rUG— Mike Deehan (@deehan) February 9, 2022
Catherine Vitale, 31, of Dorchester, told reporters outside the State House that she was part of the group that entered the building. The group was told to remain in the lobby but she attempted to proceed to the room where Baker was holding the press conference and was then “dragged out,” Vitale said.
“We just came to witness the press conference really to try to face Baker because he’s not accessible anywhere else,” she said.
Vitale is among a group of people who have also been protesting outside Mayor Michelle Wu’s home in Roslindale against Boston’s vaccine mandate for city employees.
“We can’t get near Baker’s house so we have to try to find him at public appearances just to talk to him,” Vitale said.
She said lifting school mask mandates is not enough action by Baker because some people have already lost their jobs because of vaccine mandates implemented at hospitals.
Gal Tziperman Lotan and John R. Ellement of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.
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