A protests against the new abortion law in Missouri started out as a peaceful voicing of opinion but ended up with five people being arrested after multiple physical confrontations.
The protest began around 10 a.m. Friday on the downtown square by around 100 protesters who opposed the recently passed abortion law, which prohibits abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. The protesters and many abortion advocates say many women do not even realize they are pregnant before that time and thus could not seek an abortion.
Protesters also singled out the new law’s exclusion of normally traditional exceptions for rape and incest as reasons for their position the new law is draconian.
Those with pro-life views arrived at the square soon after the initial protest, to share their opposing position, and that is when the tensions began to ramp up.
Pastor Aaron Brummitt of Lighthouse Anabaptist Church, who frequently does street preaching around the square, came out with his speaker system to address the protesters. He was met with aggressive responses, including someone taking his Bible and throwing it toward the middle of the square.
The Springfield police department confirmed to OI five arrests from the protest, including four arrested for assaulting a member of law enforcement:
- Colin D. Anders, 34-year-old white male, was arrested for 4th degree assault and resisting arrest.
- Lateya C. King, 18-year-old black female, was arrest for 4th degree assault special victims and resisting arrest.
- Jacob D. Clark-Browning, 20-year-old white male, was arrest for 4th degree assault special victims and resisting arrest.
- Christopher Prather, 30-year-old white male, was arrest for 4th degree assault special victims and resisting arrest.
- Brady Markgraf, 19-year-old white male, was arrest for 4th degree assault special victims and resisting arrest.
“Police are on hand to ensure the safety of all assembled and only intervene when that safety is threatened,” Police Chief Paul Williams said in a statement. “Mutual respect for the right of free speech for all is essential, and participants should remain civil and nonviolent in expressing their point of view.”
Springfield police will be viewing video of the protest to see if additional arrests will be made.
(Headline photo courtesy Rachel Carlson)