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Amid State Capitol Holiday Festivities, Demonstrators Protest Police Shootings

Political protest mixed with holiday festivities in Salem Wednesday.

A group demonstrating against recent police shootings brought their message to the state capitol building. Their shouts of "hands up, don't shoot" echoed through the marble corridors and in the rotunda.

The group tried to meet with the governor but heard from a spokeswoman instead. She said the governor wasn't at the capitol and read a statement Kitzhaber issued last month following the grand jury decision in Ferguson.

The group then held a "die-in" in memory of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown who was shot by police. People arriving for a holiday concert had to step around demonstrators sprawled across the floor of the rotunda.

Onlookers included a choir made up of retirees who were scheduled to give a holiday concert. But just when it looked like the concert might be canceled, the choir sang "Silent Night" and the protesters quietly filed out of the building.

Protesters want Oregon lawmakers to pass a measure to make it possible for the state to appoint special prosecutors in cases of alleged police brutality.

Protesters hold a 'die-in' in the rotunda of the Oregon capitol building.
Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network
Northwest News Network
Protesters hold a 'die-in' in the rotunda of the Oregon capitol building.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.