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Arizona senators can't agree on what happened at the state Capitol abortion protest

The Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision sparked protests across the country, including here in Arizona.

A crowd had gathered Friday at the Arizona Capitol to protest the Supreme Court’s decision. When they learned the state Senate was still in session, some began pounding on the doors and windows of the building. Soon after, state troopers released  tear gas.

Republican leaders  described the event as a violent insurrection attempt. But Democratic state Sen. Martín Quezada called the Republicans’ characterization hypocritical.

“If anyone knows who violent insurrectionists are, it’s them. They were literally participating in that on Jan. 6. So this was really just an effort to try to distract from what happened on the 6th, what our United States Congress is investigating, literally, right now," Quezada said.

He added that the protest was mostly peaceful, and that Department of Public Safety officers were in full riot gear ahead of time.

“They had full tactical gear on. They were being escorted up to the roof of our Senate building before the protest had begun. So, they were planning to start with tear gas, they were planning to start with the most violent response," he said. 

Susan Massey with Radical Women Phoenix helped organize the protest. She said the actions of DPS troopers sent a clear message.

“To me, it reads as DPS saying: Your voices will not be heard. This is not really a democracy, your voice will not be heard," Massey said.

Athena Ankrah is an assistant producer for KJZZ's The Show.Ankrah graduated from Arizona State University in 2023 with a bachelor’s in journalism and a second degree in Chicano media and expressive culture.