I’ve just returned from the Virginia Board of Health meeting. When I left, public comment was ongoing, and the vote had not yet been taken.
Here is what I saw: I arrived around 7:30am at the building where the Board of Health meets. Protesters with signs, stickers, and buttons lined the lot, with the OK of the police officers standing in the building. The count at 8:00am was 130 protesters, the count at 9:00am was 175 protesters. The crowd was quiet, and didn’t impede pedestrian or vehicle traffic. Three media outlets were present.
While there were only two Henrico police officers present on location, an unmarked police van driven by a Henrico officer parked in the side parking lot, and cruisers circled the building and its parking lot. Across the street in the lot of an adjacent building, visible but not obvious from where we were standing, were 23 Henrico police cruisers, one Henrico PD Mobile Command Center, and a small group of officers in tactical gear. These police vehicles and personnel were present from 7:00am onward, but had left at around noon when I went outside to look again.
All of the protesters were inside at the hearing by about 9:00am. The hearing (which is ongoing as of now) was held on the second floor; not everyone could fit in the room, because the building officials required (ostensibly for fire code reasons) that everyone in the room must have a seat. There were unoccupied seats, segregated from the others, identified as press box, and after some argument, protesters were allowed to sit in the unoccupied press seats. The Fire Marshall was called.
The public comment period began immediately after the first break, and was ongoing when I left the hearing. The majority of the comments spoke against the Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers, although Virginia Women for Life and the Family Foundation were represented.
I’ll post more when I hear more.
Live footage of the hearing should be available locally on CBS 6.