By MICHELLE M. WILSON The Associated PressBURLINGTON, Vt.
— “It was scary,” said Jennifer Bower, 24, of Burlington, Vtc.
She was one of three people who were detained at the Vermont state capitol Wednesday by police and security officials as they tried to enter the building.
Police said they found a surveillance camera in the basement of the building that was recording the group as they entered.
Bower and another man, a woman in her 20s, were detained for hours and had no explanation for why they were detained.
Police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Mecke said the camera, a smart-phone device, was being used to monitor the suspects in the group.
It was not part of the police investigation into the deadly Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. Capitol.
“I was terrified, but I’m happy to be out of here and to be able to move on,” Bower said.
Bower, who was not with the group, said she was “scared for them,” as well as other people.
“I was worried that they might get shot.”
Bower said she believed police would be using the surveillance camera to catch more people in the event of a shooting or other attack.
“It’s scary because we can’t protect ourselves,” she said.
“We don’t know how many people are in there or how many they have.”
Police say they detained people because of their religious beliefs and because they were wearing Islamic headscarves.
The Vermont Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make it illegal to wear the headscarf while inside a government building.
The bill, Senate Bill 1362, was amended by the House to include the video recording.
The House approved the amended version last month.
The Burlington Police Department has been conducting surveillance in the city for the past year, the Burlington Free Press reported.
The city’s security division has also been monitoring social media and other websites for threats and extremist content.
The legislation comes amid rising tension between U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump, who have both called for the end of immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously in February to condemn Trump’s decision to ban refugees and migrants from certain countries from entering the U: countries with a high level of terrorism or extremism.
The council said the U.’s decision would not lead to the return of the majority of those refugees and would leave those fleeing terrorism in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The resolution also said the ban would “do nothing to help those fleeing the scourge of extremism, or to alleviate the suffering of those displaced by it.”
In a statement Wednesday, May said that U. S. immigration policy must be based on respect for human rights and security.
She said the new measures “will strengthen our national security and deter those seeking to exploit our values.”
May said the government will continue to support local and state governments in their efforts to protect against domestic and international threats.
U.S.-based Muslim groups have criticized the new legislation.
A coalition of more than 80 Muslim civil rights groups urged the U to withdraw from the UNAIDS program, which aims to combat the spread of radical Islam in the region.
The UNAIDs program is an annual U. N. program aimed at preventing the spread or financing of terrorism.
The group said the program is used to protect vulnerable populations and to assist communities in combating violent extremism.