The Nebraska State Patrol arrested six people Friday afternoon at incidents at the Nebraska State Capitol Building during debate on a bill to restrict abortions and transgender surgeries.

NSP spokesman Cody Thomas said around 2:40 p.m., observers in the “opponents” balcony began yelling and two people threw objects over the balcony onto the legislative floor.

Lucia Salinas, 24, of Omaha, and Maghie Miller-Jenkins, 36, of Lincoln, were arrested for obstructing a government operation and disturbing the peace.

Thomas said another person yelled repeatedly and refused law enforcement orders to leave the balcony so she, Mar Lee, 25, of Lincoln, was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and trespassing. 

The legislature’s presiding officer Lt. Gov. Joe Kelly ordered the balconies to be cleared for the rest of the debate. However, a woman refused to leave on the “proponents” balcony. Troopers gave repeated orders to vacate, but the woman did not, so Danna Seevers, 56, of Seward, was arrested for disobeying a lawful order.

Thomas said around 3:25 p.m., a trooper saw someone intentionally prevent a legislative Sgt. At Arms from opening a door in the back of the legislative chamber. The trooper told the man to leave the area but he refused.

The trooper then ordered the man to leave the capitol but he refused again. The trooper tried to arrest him but met resistance. Another trooper arrived to help take him into custody. The man, Benjamin Buras, 40, of Lincoln, was charged with resisting arrest and trespassing.

As troopers tried to apprehend Buras, a woman tried to push past another trooper. She was held back, but she punched the trooper in the chest, Thomas said.

Sara Crawford, 33, of Lincoln, was charged with obstructing a peace officer.

All six protestors were taken to the Lancaster County Jail, Thomas said.

Video and photographs from the Lincoln Journal Star confirm that only six protestors got carried away. Several people were seated in the opponents’ balcony. All but two remained calm.

The handful of protestors that went too far were arrested, as the NSP reported.

The bill, which was amended in the previous round of debate in a compromise, passed the legislature by a 33-15 margin. Gov. Jim Pillen said he will sign it at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

“All children deserve a chance to grow and live happy, fruitful lives,” Pillen said after the vote. “This includes pre-born boys and girls, and it includes children struggling with their gender identity. These kids deserve the opportunity to grow and explore who they are and want to be, and they can do so without making irreversible decisions that should be made when they are fully grown.”

© 2023 The North Platte Bulletin. All rights reserved.