The head of the Michigan Democratic Party is accusing police of attemping to intimidate protesters.
Some 10,000 people have packed the Capitol and its grounds over the debate on "Right To Work" legislation taking place today. Most of those protesters are union members, who say the bills would weaken workers' rights.
Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer says they're being greeted by State Police officers with carrying tear gas canisters, assault rifles, and police dogs.
"The police presence today is massive and oppressive, clearly designed to intimidate peaceful Michigan citizens who are attempting to exercise their right to free speech," said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer. "This unnecessary, heavy-handed police presence is provocative."
But police tell 6 News their officers need to be prepared for a worst-case scenario - and that they won't have time to rush out and get equipment if violence breaks out.
They're also concerned about keeping pro- and anti-Right To Work protesters separated.