Two Arrested As Group Challenges Massachusetts State House Entrance Policy

A small group of people attempted to enter without showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result early Tuesday afternoon

Colin A. Young/State House News Service

A small group of people attempted to enter the Massachusetts State House without showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result early Tuesday afternoon, leading state police to arrest and physically remove two people and deny entry to about six others.

Massachusetts State Police said the group was protesting the proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

State police confirmed that two people were arrested after trying to rush past the checkpoint setup outside the building.

Shawn Nelson, 43, of Boston and Michelle Efendi, 35, of Randolph were each charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. Nelson was also charged with assault and battery on a public employee, while Efendi was charged with assault.

Police said the pair tried to physically push past court officers after being warned to stop trying to force their way into the building.

At 12:35 p.m., two state police troopers led a man by the arms in through the building's Ashburton entrance and appeared to escort him down to the building's sub-basement.

After being closed for nearly two years, the Massachusetts State House has opened its doors to the public once again.

Outside the Ashburton entrance, a group of about six people were being denied entry to the State House for refusing to comply with the rules put in place when the State House reopened to the public last week. The policy requires that any visitor must show either proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a recent negative test result.

A woman who refused to give her name said she wanted to go into the State House to talk to representatives and said the requirements for entry are "an illegal policy."

The small group of demonstrators, none of whom would provide their names, said two people had been arrested for attempting to enter the building.

The group members said they did not represent any particular organization.

The Ashburton entrance to the State House was briefly closed during the incident, which lasted less than half an hour, though the Department of Conservation and Recreation rangers who handle security for the building made other doors accessible for people to leave the building and for building employees to enter.

Copyright State House News Service
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