What started as a peaceful rally at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Monday, ended several hours later in blocked traffic and pepper spray.
About 2,000 protesters gathered at the Statehouse to speak out about recent decisions by President Donald Trump, mainly the ban of refugees from several countries, according to The Columbus Dispatch. They also raised concerns about the Keystone pipeline, Black Lives Matter and women’s rights.
After gathering at the Statehouse at 6:30 p.m., protesters moved to the streets, chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” while marching toward the Franklin County Municipal Court. They rallied for about 10 minutes before taking to the streets again to return to the Statehouse.
Some motorists high-fived protesters or honked. Police cruisers and bicycle patrol officers attempted to contain the crowd to the sidewalk and one lane. Shortly after 8:15 p.m., protesters stopped at the intersection of South High and State streets before sitting down and blocking traffic.Demonstrators stood up and faced toward the police, with some holding their fists or peace signs up while chanting and singing songs. The police presence grew when protesters refused to leave. Officers stood by as people continued to demonstrate and waited for about 40 minutes before resorting to pepper spray to break up the crowd.
Medical personnel tended to those affected by pepper spray as protesters dispersed for the night. Several police officers stood by to clear the area.