Police make arrests and use ‘smoke’ on abortion protesters in South Dakota

Remains unclear how many were taken into custody

Related video: Women react after Supreme Court overturns the constitutional right to abortion

An abortion rights march in South Dakota descended into chaos when police deployed “smoke bombs” on protesters, a number of whom were taken into custody.

On Wednesday, a group of demonstrators began marching at 7pm through Sioux Falls in protest at last week’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade and women’s abortion rights.

 “Abort the Supreme Court,” some of the demonstrators chanted. “My body, my choice,” others called out.

As the group walked down 14th Street, some 300 people were thought to have been taking part in the demonstration, Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum said, according to Dakota News Now.

According to the Argus Leader, the protest became more heated when the march reached an area near Lyon Park and were met by riot police holding batons and shields.

Police were also seen with white zip ties on their belts, which were used to restrain at least two abortion rights protesters, the Leader said.

Smoke bombs were eventually deployed and demonstrators were ordered to disperse from the scene. Police also carried arrests and it is unclear on what charges.

The city of Sioux Falls had reportedly did not given a permit to organisers of the abortion rights march, leading to it being called an “unlawful gathering” by police.

Reports said the demonstration was organised by word of mouth and on social media, which Sioux Fall’s police chief criticised as being disorganised and blamed for some of the chaos.

Video and images shared to social media on Wednesday night showed some of the chaos that unfolded, including protesters running as police deployed smoke bombs.

Many were surprised by the size of the march because of strong Republican support in South Dakota, where abortion was immediately outlawed on Friday when Roe was struck down by the Supreme Court.

“I’ve never seen a protest this HUGE in Sioux Falls or South Dakota”, wrote one Twitter user.

The march occurred days after South Dakota’s last abortion clinic closed in Sioux Falls following the Supreme Court ruling, which came despite widespread support for abortion across the United States.

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