“Economic terrorism” law proposed as solution to increasingly aggressive demonstrators.
The protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline took another disturbing turn, as demonstrators blocked the entrance of a local mall on Black Friday.
More than 30 activists protesting plans to run an oil pipeline beneath a lake near a North Dakota Indian reservation were arrested on Friday at a retail mall during a rally timed to coincide with the busiest shopping day of the year.
The demonstrators, including members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, walked into the Kirkwood Mall in downtown Bismarck and formed a prayer circle just inside the entrance, defying demands by mall management that they leave the premises.
Police reported that at least 33 people were taken into custody at the mall for trespassing on private property.
Kandi Mossett, an activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, said 40 to 50 protesters were arrested. Many were seen being led away in handcuffs to a police van parked outside the mall.
To get a sense of the nature of the demonstrations, here is a video taken by a supporter of the protest movement:
No matter the number arrested, the fact is that these demonstrators infringed on the propety rights of other Americans in their self-righteous, eco-activist fervor.
During Obama’s time in office, Americans have faced increasingly aggressive demonstrators who are fueled with more zeal than facts. Incidents Legal Insurrection has covered include race-based riots, Occupy Wall Street’s disruptive and destructive demonstrations, and social justice vandalism.
As Obama and members of his administration seem less than keen on responding to protesters (unless they are Tea Party groups), and because demonstrators are increasingly targeting business in their protest tactics, legislators are looking for other response options.
For example, Washington State Sen. Doug Ericksen has prepared a bill that would create a new crime of “economic terrorism,” which allows felony prosecution of protesters who block streets, cause property damage, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk.
…“I respect the right to protest, but when it endangers people’s lives and property, it goes too far,” Ericksen said in a news release. “Fear, intimidation and vandalism are not a legitimate form of political expression. Those who employ it must be called to account.”
Ericksen said the bill, which is being prepared for next year’s legislative session, would allow felony prosecution “of those who intentionally break the law in an attempt to intimidate or coerce private citizens or the government by obstructing economic activity.”
The key to that legislation is “breaking the law” while demonstrating. Nobody wants to legislate away law-abiding protesters arguing for their candidates and policies. However, during the last few years, many Americans have suffered as agitators have cloaked dangerous and destructive activity under the First Amendment banner.
I was involved in Tea Party protests. Do you know how many were arrested at our events? Zero.
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