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Seven arrested in protest that disrupted Montana House hearing on youth transgender bill

Montana House GOP leadership described the incident as a "riot by far-left agitators."

Published: April 25, 2023 10:41am

Updated: April 25, 2023 10:44am

Seven people in Montana have been arrested in connection with a protest Monday at the state capital over the censure of a state Democrat lawmaker opposed to a GOP-led bill limiting youth transgender medical procedures. 

The incident took place in the capital's House chambers. Those arrested faces charges of criminal trespass after refusing to leave the gallery, which overlooks the House floor, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told local NBC affiliate KTVH-TV.

The group of protesters shouted from the gallery, "Let her speak," after GOP House Speaker Rep. Matt Regier declined to give Zephyr floor time, ahead of a vote on the bill. 

The protests follow Zephyr, a transgender person, previously opposed the bill on the floor, saying lawmakers who voted for it should be ashamed and would have "blood on your hands," if it passes.

Regier said in response to Zephyr's comments that he had concerns that Zephyr wouldn’t maintain decorum if called upon to speak again. So he declined to recognize Zephyr on the floor, citing House rules that give the speaker the final say on such matters.

The demonstration lasted for about 15 minutes while the House was in session, and some of the protesters were handcuffed, the TV station also reports. 

Regier and others in House GOP leadership released a statement Monday evening, in which they described the incident as a "riot by far-left agitators."

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