Demonstrators gathered at the Capitol in Olympia on Saturday for an event dubbed the “Re-Open WA Rally.”
The event was hosted by Republican 17th Legislative State Rep. Vicki Kraft.
“The purpose of this rally is to give the people of Washington state a united voice and grassroots platform to share the realities of their challenges with the ongoing shutdown in a peaceful way with the governor, Democrat majority and Republican minority legislators in Olympia in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment,” Kraft said in a prepared statement.
The rally included faith leaders, veterans, parents and small business owners, among others.
There was an area designated for those wishing to attend with masks and social distancing.
"Those who tend to be more susceptible to flu, colds, infection, etc. may decide it in their best interest not to join for this event in person,” according to the press release announcing the rally.
The event was similar to others that have been held at the Capitol since the start of the pandemic and associated restrictions put in place by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Attendees were critical of Inslee’s handling of the health crisis.
Inslee last month announced sweeping orders that reduced capacity for businesses and ended in-person services at bars and restaurants as the number of new COVID-19 cases continued to surge across the state.
While Saturday’s event was peaceful, there were clashes afterwards in downtown Olympia with black-clad protesters who appeared to burn flags and signs while exchanging words and punches with conservative demonstrators. One man was arrested after firing a gun, though there were no injuries.