Capitol police arrested seven protesters from a state Senate committee meeting room Tuesday for disrupting hearings about legislation curtailing unions.
Authorities said they charged each of the seven who were removed from the committee room with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Witnesses said they believed that the protesters were affiliated with the groups "Chattanooga Organized for Action" and "Progressive Student Alliance." The students are from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and the University of Memphis.
At first Capitol police asked the protesters to leave. But when they would not comply some were forcibily removed after having attempted to link arms and remain in the room. One witness said they "played dead," not offering resistance to law enforcement but still forcing them to have to be carried out.
Woods and Whitehouse quote a statement from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey: “The right of all citizens to protest and assemble peacefully is sacred in the State of Tennessee. However, this General Assembly will not be intimidated by nomadic bands of professional agitators on spring break bent on disruption. We talk through our differences here. Tennessee is not Wisconsin.”
(Anybody remember who said, "This isn't Dallas, it's Nashville!")