Thousands of protesters greeted lawmakers beginning a 30-day special session to address Washington state's budget woes, and police later using Tasers in a skirmish as a large crowd refused to leave the Capitol building at the end of the day.
Approximately 3,000 people protested at the Capitol throughout the day, though the number of protesters on campus at any one time varied. The protesters came from various groups, including Occupy Olympia, unions and social service groups.
Troopers used Tasers on three people when demonstrators when they tried to enter the Capitol building, and a fourth person was tasered outside on the other side of the building, where the three arrests took place after attempts to enter the Capitol from a different entrance. As clashes broke out between troopers and protesters, one trooper reported that he was bitten in the arm. Two people were arrested for assault, obstruction and resisting arrest, and another for obstruction and resisting arrest.
The protests marked opening day of sessions to focus on budget cuts as the state tries to deal with a $1.4 billion deficit. Governor Chris Gregoire has proposed reducing funding to areas like education, public safety and health care.