Police arrested 43 demonstrators in front of the Idaho Senate chambers Monday afternoon, AP reports. The protestors blocked the entrance to the chambers for more than two hours, standing shoulder to shoulder to prevent lawmakers from passing.
The protestors wore shirts that read “Add the Words Idaho” and covered their mouths with their hands to call attention to a bill that would add workplace and housing protection for LGBT individuals.
Former state Senator Nicole LeFavour organized the protest to block the entrances until lawmakers agreed to add LGBT individuals to the Idaho Human Rights Act. She’s also Idaho Legislature’s first openly gay lawmaker.
At first, Sen. LeFavour was allowed to remain after the other protesters were removed. Senate rules allow floor privileges to former members. However, the Senate voted 34-0 to suspend the rule and the senator was removed.
Arrests started after Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill was blocked from entering the chambers at 11 a.m. Hill and other Idaho republicans have blocked passage of the bill that would guarantee certain LGBT rights for eight years, refusing to give it a hearing.
We respect your right to protest, but we also have the right to do the job people elected us to do. Those are the chambers, and they belong to all the people, not just this group.