Dozens of protesters attempt to disrupt ALEC meeting in downtown Pittsburgh

Dozens of protesters attempt to disrupt ALEC meeting in downtown Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Dozens of protesters' chants in downtown Pittsburgh Friday turned into action after they attempted to gain access to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s task force meeting at the Omni William Penn.

Only Channel 11 was present when protesters forced their way past security guards into the hotel.

"Working people came together to tell them that it's not OK. It's not acceptable for them to be in Pittsburgh and try to buy our democracy,” protester Erin Kramer said.

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Once inside, protesters continued to chant against the council, better known as ALEC, which helps legislators develop policy. The group was stopped before they got into ALEC’s actual meeting.

Pittsburgh police told Channel 11 News that no arrests were made, but a similar protest Thursday night did end in an arrest. Protesters are accused of disrupting an ALEC dinner at Heinz Hall. Authorities said one man was arrested and charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

"They're pushing bills on our legislators on behalf of corporations that are really designed to take over American politics for the benefit of corporations, not people,” Sam Williamson, of the Service Employees International Union, said.

The protesters eventually left the hotel peacefully.

In a statement to Channel 11, ALEC condemned the protesters for inciting violence and injuring security guards, saying, in part:

“They physically harassed state legislators attending our meeting in an attempt to demand compliance rather than understanding. It is unfortunate that protestors who desire a voice would do so by silencing and intimidating others."