OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With lawmakers getting ready to hear Governor Kevin Stitt deliver his fifth State of the State address, trans-rights activists protested on the south steps of the Capitol.
A couple hundred people gathered to demonstrate their opposition to bills that have been filed that would ban gender affirming care.
About an hour before Governor Stitt took to the podium, the group of protesters filed onto the fourth floor.
The group peacefully demonstrated directly outside of the House chamber, where Stitt would deliver his speech. Activists chanted “Trans Lives Matter” and “We are Oklahoma.”
Videos of the protest are being shared widely across Twitter.
Political commentators, who were not at Monday’s protest, have reshared the video and used the terms “militant” to describe the activists. One commentator said, “Trans Lives Matter stormed and occupied the Oklahoma capitol today.”
However, those characterizations are not accurate.
Demonstrators were let in by Oklahoma State Troopers and Capitol security staff. Each person walked through a metal detector.
State troopers were present on the fourth floor, blocking the entrance into the House chamber.
Through conversations with law enforcement, they looked and sounded generally unfazed by the protestors. No one seemed to be in immediate danger.
When the chanting was at its loudest, it was difficult to hear the person talking next to you. But at one point, senators walked from their chamber – through the crowd – into the House chamber, and there was no physical violence or any verbal altercations.
Capitol security staff was in contact with the leaders of the protest and on multiple occasions, the leaders were giving direction to the crowd about where they could stand (how close to the House chamber door) and even telling the group to be quiet once the State of the State began.
By the time Governor Stitt concluded, the crowd had dispersed and gone home.
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