NASHVILLE - Seven protestors, including a woman from Chattanooga, were dragged from a state Senate hearing today and arrested, authorities said.
The seven were each charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, said Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott.
Ash-Lee Henderson, who is affiliated with the group Chattanooga Organized for Action, was arrested today, according to her mother, Tamara Henderson.
Tennessee Highway Patrolmen began dragging protesters from a Senate Commerce Committee hearing this afternoon after they disrupted proceedings with chants of "Hey, hey, ho, ho, union busting has got to go."
At least three dozen protesters interrupted as the panel prepared to hear several bills aimed at unions.
The committee chairman, Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, tried to order the protesters to stop and called sergeants at arms to no avail. Later, Highway Patrolmen came in and snatched fliers from the hands of a number of chanting protesters.
Soon after, patrolmen hauled off at least two handcuffed protesters to shouts of "shame, shame, shame" from other protesters.
In a statement, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said "this General Assembly will not be
intimidated by nomadic bands of professional agitators on spring break bent on disruption."
Today's protest marked the latest attempt to draw attention to concern over a rash of bills, including one that would end collective bargaining for teachers and others aimed at all unions.
Earlier in the day, union leaders, teachers and their allies held a rally on top of the legislative plaza.
Dozens later went to the state Capitol in an effort to bring their concerns to Gov. Bill Haslam.
Most were blocked there and later came down inside the legislative plaza.