Arizona’s Capitol is surrounded by razor wire as abortion rights protests are planned for this week

Razor wire and fencing surround the Arizona Capitol and legislative buildings on June 27, 2022. They were installed to block abortion rights protesters from gathering at the Capitol following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and ending the national right to abortion. /Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy / Arizona Mirror

By Jerod MacDonald-Evoy |Arizona Mirror

 The Arizona Capitol is surrounded by fencing and razor wire to keep abortion rights protesters away from the building.

The fences and concertina wire were installed over the weekend by the Arizona National Guard at the request of the Arizona Department of Public Safety over the weekend amid ongoing protests over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, thus ending the national right to abortion.

In Arizona, that means abortions are now illegal because a law dating back to statehood in 1912 — which was written in the late 1800s — is now enforceable. Lawmakers this year passed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks, but that legislation was designed to go into effect only if Roe was not overturned. 

On June 24, the Arizona legislature adjourned its business for the year after state troopers fired tear gas at protesters who had gathered outside to denounce the court ruling. That led to fumes leaking into the building, temporarily disrupting the state Senate’s final night of work. 

Over the course of the weekend, protests continued, with DPS arresting multiple people. State troopers arrested legal observers and temporarily detained an Arizona Republic photographer who was clearly credentialed. 

On Sunday afternoon, DPS requested the assistance from the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, which mobilized Arizona National Guard members to install 2,400 feet of fencing, said DEMA Public Affairs Officer David Nunn. 

DPS spokesman Bart Graves said that putting up the fence was the only assistance the National Guard provided to the agency. 

The National Guard has helped police with protests in the past. During the 2020 protests following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer, the Arizona National Guard flew a surveillance aircraft over the protests. A check of the aircraft’s flight history showed it was not present over the protests over the weekend.  

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