Occupy protesters visiting the capitol yesterday were barred from entering the Senate chamber, which is commonly open to the public. The demonstrators say they were not allowed into the chamber, while others were.
Maggi Farmer, one of the protesters, says she was barred from entering the chamber, while other people in line to enter the chamber were let in without any trouble.
“One of the security guards told me he was told to not ‘let you guys in,’” she explained.
A volunteer attorney with the Tallahassee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Richard Benham, spoke with the Senate Sergeant at Arms Donald Severance, who had ordered security to not allow the Occupiers in the chamber.
Benham says he does not know whether anyone’s rights were infringed upon. However, Benham says that Severance’s reasoning behind not allowing certain individuals to enter the chamber, while allowing others, was “generic and unsatisfactory.”
Benham informed members of the Occupy protest that Severance took issue with the group assembling, chanting and rallying earlier that day in front of the House chamber. There were claims that the group was “disruptive,” which prompted Severance to shut them out.
More than 10 members of the group trying to enter the chamber later in the day were not even present for the rally in the morning, members of the group told Benham.
Occupy was among many other progressive groups that rallied in the capitol yesterday, which was the first day of session.