Jonathan O’Brien | State Capitol Reporter

(Atlanta, Ga) — A Friday protest over voting reform bills ended with a state lawmaker holding a sit-in on the capitol steps and demanding an apology from an officer who touched her.

Rep. Park Cannon, along with 20 of her fellow Democrats, sat on the State Capitol steps demanding a public apology from the state trooper who moved her out of the way after she stepped in front of an officer’s bullhorn. Cannon told reporters she refused an offer for a private apology. “If you want to disrespect black women, lawmakers, in front of the public when we’re all watching, you can apologize while we’re all watching,” Rep. Cannon said after ending her nearly two-hour sit-in.

State Troopers threaten to arrest Rep. Park Canon after protestors confront lawmakers over GOP-backed election bills. @WGUR953 @WRGC883 pic.twitter.com/yTxZnIuJk9

The demonstration began in the rotunda with an impassioned speech from State Representative Erica Thomas, “too many people have fought, bled, and died for our right to vote,” Thomas shouted.

Rep. Thomas and about ten other protestors were expressing their outrage over Republican election reform bills. Specifically, House Bill 531, which would cut the number of days Georgians can early vote, limit the use of mobile voting sites, and require an I.D. to obtain an absentee ballot.

“Day after day, we see more voting bills coming up and spitting on our ancestors,” Thomas said.

Things reached a boiling point when the protestors saw that lawmakers were recessing for lunch and attempted to confront them as they left with chants of “protect the vote” and “all votes matter.”

A line of state patrolmen stepped in with one announcing over a bullhorn, “disperse immediately, or you will be arrested.” At that moment, Cannon put her head in front of the bullhorn, which caused feedback. Another officer grabbed her arm, guiding her back.

Rep. Cannon was outraged and confronted the police for touching her. She compared the clash to a 2018 incident when Capitol Police arrested then-state senator Nikema Williams during a protest over the governor’s race. Ultimately, no one was arrested on Friday.

House Bill 531 will come up for a vote on Monday.