Protesters urging the "reopening of Oregon" gather outside the Capitol Dec. 21 as lawmakers met in a one-day special session to consider Covid relief measures (Jake Thomas/Salem Reporter)

This article was updated at 11:36 a.m.

Protesters, some armed, forced their way into the closed Capitol on Monday as legislators gathered inside in a one-day special session to consider Covid relief measures.

The Oregon State Police, some wearing riot gear, held the protesters at bay and eventually pushed them back outside. The Capitol is closed to the public and the legislative process is carrying out with Covid restrictions in place.

The crowd, gathered to "demand the reopening of Oregon," according to a Facebook announcement of the event, pushed into the Capitol lobby chanting "Let us in!" Few were wearing masks.

Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly around 9:30 a.m. Monday. Police arrested two protesters who refused to leave the building Monday morning, Oregon State Police said in a news release.

The group included Joey Gibson, founder of Patriot Prayer, the right-wing activist group from Vancouver, Washington. Gibson called on protesters to peacefully resist arrest.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would grant relief to landlords and renters, allow restaurants and bars to offer cocktails to and shield schools from lawsuits from employees who contract Covid.

This story is developing and will be updated.

Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009. 

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