Gay rights activists briefly arrested at Idaho statehouse protest

Mon Feb 3, 2014 3:22pm EST

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(Reuters) - Idaho troopers briefly arrested 44 gay rights activists at the statehouse in Boise on Monday for blocking access to the Senate chambers during a protest, an Idaho State Police spokeswoman said.

The protesters were seeking to draw attention to a lack of action in the Republican-led legislature on a longstanding proposal that would add protections for gay and transgender people to the Idaho Human Rights Act, police spokeswoman Teresa Baker said.

Attempts to contact protest representatives for comment were not immediately successful.

The activists blocked entrances to the state Senate for over an hour in a peaceful protest that nevertheless violated an Idaho law that prohibits people from interfering with the business of the legislature, she said.

"Our troopers requested they move so the Senate could begin work for the day, but they indicated they preferred to be arrested," Baker said.

The 44 protesters, including two people below the age of 18, were cited for trespassing and released.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Dan Grebler)

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