Eight protesters have been arrested during a demonstration today in Jefferson City. They marched from the Missouri Capitol to the Governor’s Mansion and along a main street in the city’s downtown to rally against a crime bill at the center of the state Legislature’s special session.

The demonstration was made up of about 40 participants, including state Representative Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis. Protesters were seen on video blocking a roadway. Several police officers were on the scene to direct the crowd and some reportedly used pepper spray on protesters.

The governor wants lawmakers to pass a plan to fight the state’s increasing violent crime rate, including provisions that could prosecute some children as adults for certain crimes, create a witness protection fund and remove a residency requirement to help recruit more St. Louis police officers.

Protesters says Gov. Mike Parson’s efforts will further criminalize the community. They say the governor is “intentionally ignoring” the root issues of crime and the legislature should be focused on providing more funding to address mental health problems.

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