• May 26, 2022

Washington Republican Proposes a Bill Charging Protesters With Economic Terrorism

People congregate on the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks off Farm to Market Road in Skagit County on Friday evening, May 13, 2016, in Burlington, Wash. Hundreds of people in kayaks and on foot are gathering at the site of two oil refineries in Washington state to call for action on climate change and a fair transition away from fossil fuels. On Friday evening, dozens of people were setting up a camp on railroad tracks near the refineries with the intent to stay and block the flow of oil as long as possible, according to a news release sent by event organizer Emily Johnston. (Scott Terrell/Skagit Valley Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
People congregate on the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks off Farm to Market Road in Skagit County on Friday evening, May 13, 2016, in Burlington, Wash. Hundreds of people in kayaks and on foot are gathering at the site of two oil refineries in Washington state to call for action on climate change and a fair transition away from fossil fuels. On Friday evening, dozens of people were setting up a camp on railroad tracks near the refineries with the intent to stay and block the flow of oil as long as possible, according to a news release sent by event organizer Emily Johnston. (Scott Terrell/Skagit Valley Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen has proposed a law that would allow police to arrest protesters for economic terrorism if their protests became violent or disrupted businesses.  It is not aimed at the anti-Trump protesters who have held nothing but peaceful protests in that state.  The new law would be aimed at environmental groups who organize protests aimed at costing legitimate businesses a large sum of money.  Recently a group camped out for over a week on railroad tracks in order to prevent a load of sand from getting to fracking sites.

“I respect the right to protest, but when it endangers people’s lives and property, it goes too far.  Fear, intimidation and vandalism are not a legitimate form of political expression. Those who employ it must be called to account.

“We are not just going after the people who commit these acts of terrorism.  We are going after the people who fund them. Wealthy donors should not feel safe in disrupting middle-class jobs.”

From The Hill:

The proposed bill would make protesting a class C felony should it cause any sort of “economic disruption” or “jeopardize human life and property.” Such a proposal would mean violators could face five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

Any group who organizes a protest that is considered disruptive would also be charged with “economic terrorism.” The law would not apply to strikes or picketing.

The bill is aimed at protests in the Pacific Northwest, often by environmental activists, that are aimed at shutting down commerce and transportation.

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