Virginia State Police arrested 31 protesters at the state Capitol building in Richmond Saturday afternoon as hundreds of demonstrators gathered on the steps to protest the state’s controversial ultrasound bill.
Capt. Raymond Goodloe of the Virginia Division of Capitol Police told the Richmond Times-Dispatch the protesters will be charged with either trespassing or unlawful assembly.
Protest organizers said they had a permit to demonstrate at the nearby Bell Tower on Capitol Square, but some chose to stay at the steps, where rallies are not permitted.
The protesters were denouncing the hotly contested legislation, which would require women to get an abdominal ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.
The bill has already passed Virginia’s General Assembly, and Governor Bob McDonnell has said he is planning to sign the bill into law.
Del. Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond, said the arrests are “just the latest example of government overreach that we’ve seen in recent weeks.”
She added that police were never used when guns rights advocates gather on Capitol Square on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
“This is a sad reminder that our progress towards equality for all Virginians has not been achieved.”