We previously reported extensively on the blockade of the San Mateo – Hayward Bridge on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by a group of protesters.

What started as a #BlackLivesMatters protest was hijacked by anti-Israel protesters who draped the Palestinian flag across both sides of the bridge at its highest span.

http://abc7news.com/483891/

The action was extremely dangerous, trapping hundreds of motorists and causing multiple traffic accidents.

One vehicle with a 3-year-old child in medical distress reportedly had to be rerouted.

68 protesters, most of them Stanford University students, were arrested.

There was speculation that charges would be dropped, but that has not happened. As reported in the Costa Contra Times:

The first group of protesters arrested during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day action that shut down the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge have appeared in San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City on misdemeanor charges, according to prosecutors.

A total of 68 protestors, part of a Stanford University group calling itself Silicon Shutdown affiliated with the “Black Lives Matter” movement, were arrested after they failed to leave the bridge when ordered to do so, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The group members, who said they were honoring King’s legacy and marching in response to the controversial Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, in Ferguson, Missouri, called for an end to what they called police brutality and the demilitarization of local law enforcement. They carried a Palestinian flag “as a symbol of global struggles for justice,” organizers said.

All 68 of those arrested have been charged with obstructing the roadway, a misdemeanor, and will be tried separately, in part because the county cannot accommodate all of them in one trial, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Tuesday.

A total of ten of those defendants, the first ten to be arrested, appeared in court Monday and Tuesday, with others scheduled to appear on various dates in late March, Wagstaffe said.

The protesters are getting off easy. Their actions went far beyond a protest that incidentally caused traffic problems, or even a protest such as in Boston where motorists were able to exit.

Imagine being a motorist stranded hundreds of feet above the water and in need of help.

These protesters, led by national anti-Israel agitators, deliberately set up the blockade at the highest span point, knowing there was no exit possible and that emergency vehicles would have trouble reaching them to clear the roadway.

They even abandoned their cars on the roadway to create impediments.

Upon initial arrest, protesters claimed their rights were violated:

One participant in the bridge protest, Kristian Davis Bailey ’14, accused the CHP of violating protocols.

“[W]e weren’t given a clear option to disperse,” Bailey said. He added that demonstrators tried to leave the demonstration but were not able to do so.

The protesters charged with a single low-level misdemeanor will continue to play victim, but in fact they were given a gift by prosecutors.