Politicians Across America Continue Push To Make Protesting Illegal

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Sarah Cronin via TheAntiMedia.org,

Indiana passed a bill on Wednesday that authorizes police officers to shut down highway protesting “by any means necessary.” S.B. 285, as it is known, obliges a public official to dispatch all available officers within 15 minutes of discovering any assembly of 10 or more people who are obstructing vehicle traffic.

The bill then authorizes the responding officers to clear roads “by any means necessary.”

Critics are calling it the “Block Traffic and You Die” bill, an apt name for a bill that has co-opted the phrase “any means necessary,” used famously in speech delivered by Malcolm X during the Civil Rights movement, turning it into a threat against government dissent (with no apparent awareness of the irony).

S.B. 285 is among a collection of increasingly hostile ‘anti-obstruction’ laws that have been quietly submitted in states around the nation over the past few months. A report by The Intercept published Wednesday tracked five such anti-protest laws introduced by Republican lawmakers in different states, four of which are currently pending.

One of the most disturbing among them is House Bill N. 1203, a bill introduced earlier this month by North Dakota lawmaker Keith Kempenich in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests. The bill would exempt motorists who hit demonstrators with their cars from any liability in cases where the victims were “obstructing vehicular traffic on a public road, street, or highway.” This twisted take on protest criminalization comes short of condoning manslaughter as a viable means of crowd control.

Also this month, Minnesota State Representative Kathy Lohmer led the effort on submitting H.F. 322, a bill that would re-classify obstructing highway traffic from a misdemeanor to a “gross misdemeanor” and would authorize government units to sue protesters for “public safety response costs related to unlawful assemblies.”

The proposed legislation is strikingly reminiscent of Washington State Senator Eric Ericksen’s proposal to punish protesters as ‘economic terrorists,’ which Anti-Media first reported on in November.

All of the proposed laws share a common trait in that they were all adopted in response to a major protest event in that state. H.F. 322 was submitted shortly after a judge dismissed the riot charges against protesters who took to the St. Paul Interstate last July in a demonstration against the police shooting of Philando Castille. Ericksen’s “economic terrorism” bill announcement came just days after anti-fracking protesters blocked railroad tracks in Olympia, Washington. DAPL protests inspired both the Indiana and North Dakota bills.

These retroactive responses on behalf of Republican state lawmakers are also seen as preemptive strikes against the threat of increased protests during the Trump presidency.

As ACLU staff attorney Lee Rowland expressed in an interview with The Intercept, these so-called ‘obstruction bills’ are but thinly disguised efforts to squash any government dissent.

“A law that would allow the state to charge a protester $10,000 for stepping in the wrong place, or encourage a driver to get away with manslaughter because the victim was protesting, is about one thing: chilling protest,” Rowland said.

Growing tension between government officials and protesters is expected to come to a culmination on Inauguration Day in D.C., where there will already be many barriers in place to limit demonstrations.

First and foremost is the Federal Grounds and Buildings Improvement Act of 2011, known as H.R 347.

H.R.-347 is a revision of a 1971 federal trespassing law that made it a crime to “willfully and knowingly” remain in an area under Secret Security protection. H.R. 347 removes the word “willingly,” a legal technicality that effectively lowers the bar on the mental state required to be found guilty under the law.

As explained by the American Civil Liberties Union:

“Under the original language of the law, you had to act ‘willfully and knowingly’ when committing the crime. In short, you had to know your conduct was illegal. Under H.R. 347, you will simply need to act ‘knowingly,’ which here would mean that you know you’re in a restricted area, but not necessarily that you’re committing a crime.”

Under current federal law, protesting in proximity to an elected official under the protection of the Secret Service, which includes President Trump, is a crime punishable by fine and up to ten years in jail.

Protesting during Trump’s inauguration comes with additional complications as the National Park Service reserves a large portion of the inaugural parade route along Pennsylvania Ave and in Freedom Plaza for ticket sales under the exclusive discretion of Trump’s Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC). This means the PIC can refuse to allow protesters along the route.

An activist group called Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (Answer) has been engaged in a  legal battle with the National Park Service since 2005, arguing the privatization of the Inauguration is an attempt to “sanitize” the streets of dissent.

While the National Park Service has been controversially setting aside tickets for the PIC since 1980, the issue garnered more attention this year when it was discovered that the sidewalk in front of the Trump International Hotel, a significant site for protesters, would be a part of PIC’s ticket-only area.

Adding another level of bureaucracy, the Washington Post reported the hotel and plaza in front are actually under the control of Trump’s real estate agency, meaning protesters would have to literally ‘ask permission’ to remain in the space.

As the week comes to an end, it becomes apparent that dissent is being criminalized not only nationwide but on multiple fronts. Increased regulations are appearing that limit the public spaces that can be lawfully occupied in protest. Meanwhile, legislation is also being introduced to increase the negative consequences for newly unlawful protests. Should more states follow suit with Indiana, demonstrators will soon find themselves paradoxically protesting for their right to protest at all.

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1980XLS's picture

Felony Charges, on the 2012 law signed by Obama in 2012. Ironic, isn't it?

Rioting in the presence of Secret Service Agents




Looney's picture


proposal to punish protesters as ‘economic terrorists"

What's next, outlawing flatulence as “environmental terrorism”?  ;-)


El Vaquero's picture

The author clearly hasn't been out to watch any of these "protests" first hand.  The fuckwits will get up and block traffic on an interstate at locations where motorists options are sit there and wait for the retards to get kicked off by the cops, go the wrong way on an interstate, abandon their property by walking away and leaving their property on the interstate, or getting out and getting violent.  The "protesters" are violating the rights of others.  

Laddie's picture

That is quite true, however, there is a campaign underway to SHUT DOWN dissenting speech.

And it is not just Europe or Canada but here in the US as well.

In England the Tribe got May to ban a peaceful group, NATIONAL ACTION, by classifying them as a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.

Paragons Need No Facts: The Pathetic Apologetics of Jonathan Sacks, Part 1

January 14, 2017 — Brenton

Moral Paragons Need No Facts: The Pathetic Apologetics of Jonathan Sacks, Part 2 January 16, 2017

Philip Giraldi on the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act by Dr Kevin MacDonald December 6, 2016

Disintegration Of WASP Society Interview with Dr Kevin MacDonald emeritus professor of psychology at California State University - Long Beach

GGuy's picture
GGuy (not verified) Laddie Jan 22, 2017 12:22 PM

Protesting = BAD


AVmaster's picture

Thats because there is no such thing as peaceful protests...


Round them up and lock em up.


Then send the bill to their parents for wasting cum...

toady's picture

People care about this and not the NSA monitoring every word?

People care about this and not losing a trillion a year on bogus crap? 

Okay, I do care about the right to protest, but I care more about the rights that were stripped away by W/Obama!

El Vaquero's picture

These protesters want to strip more of your rights away. They are all for free speech, so long as they agree with what you're saying.  They want to shut you the fuck up otherwise.   I have watched them call for revolution, and by that, they mean socialist revolution.  They may be useful idiots, but they have the potential to be very destructive none the less.  We are at the beginning of a social upheaval that may very well make organizations like the NSA and a lot of the other alphabet soup agencies much less relevant to our lives.  The next decade is going to be very interesting. 

Handful of Dust's picture

Speaking of protests, I was shocked to hear the ex-cia director Brennan call Trump despicable. There's room for constructive criticism but this goes beyond the bounds imo for anyone, esp top brass, to insult the president and the American people that way. It's one thing for low-life like Madonna to be a pig, but unacceptable for a former director to speak so disrespectful.

He should be striped of any military rank he holds AND any government pension he gets from American taxpayers should be revoked imo.

I think his comments are disgusting and hurt all America esp during this transition and esp since he has arguably  been shown to be incompetent the past few years AND has been funding isis which has been killing so many innocent people including our own soldiers.

eatthebanksters's picture

Peaceful protest is one thing, denying others their rights as you protest does not work.  Breaking windows, lighting fires, looting, blocking traffic, throwing stuff, and attacking people with opposing viewpoints is NOT protesting, its anarchy run amok.  Progessiveness is good where it furthers tolerance, it is bad when it becomes so permissive that lawless behavior is permitted.  Law and order is coming back.  I heard that the 230 people arrested in DC for rioting will face felony charges with a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.  That is called sending a message.

Tolerance is a two way street and Progressives need to learn that. 

Make America Great Again!!


Dormouse's picture

But, Donald Trump got more fat women out walking in ONE day than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.

Luc X. Ifer's picture

1st time when I'll call a 0hedge article pure bombastic BS. There is nothing to indicate the allegation. Actually in a genuine, fully functional democracy social manifestations which affect citizens safety, economic activities and property should not be tolerated, that manifestations are vandalism not manifestations of the right to speak and protest. 

Crush the cube's picture

Absolutely, I have the right not to look, hear, or be assed with any of their crap.  You want to force your opinion, every force has an equal and opposite reaction. 


Vaarrrruuuummmm,  vaaaaaarrrruuuuummmmm

Eat tire you worthless wankers.

Note not all these laws are giving the government excess power, nor protecting them from liability, they're beeing written to protect the people who don't want any part of this, and are often the targets. 

DeathMerchant's picture

Most devout moslems, including Brennan have been saying bad things about the new president. Take the traitorous should all be deported fucks at CAIR for instance

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Handful of Dust Jan 22, 2017 7:26 PM

Secret Service says they are going visit Madonna due to terrorist threats.

Tiwin's picture

round em up lock em up.....and hope by God a real criminal who should have occupied that cell finds you or your family.
Then perhaps you will learn what prisons are for, and that is not protesters. Fucker.

DeathMerchant's picture

The 217 protesting fuckers in prison right now, charged with felonies, facing up to 10 years in federal prsion would agree with you. The public at large ?? Not so much. In situations like this much better to be a fucker than a fuckee.

Tiwin's picture

Fitting handle there.
Your mother must be proud.

Dalcan5's picture

You're an perfect example of why women should have the right to abort fucking moron! Go play your video games and let the adults discuss serious topics!

jwoop66's picture

Protesting is when you stand on the side, holding your signs, doing your little chants and state your case.  When you impede me in my travels by blocking my car with a crowd, you are now threatening my safety as far as I'm concerned.   I will respond accordingly.  If you get hurt as a result, it is your fault.  If you physically violate my personal space as I walk down the street, you are threatening me physically - even if you haven't actually touched me.   I will react accordingly. 

El Vaquero's picture

If I am ever detained by protesters blocking an interstate, and yes, they are detaining motorists when they do that shit, I will not hesitate to use violence to get them out of my way.  You want a method of stopping this behavior?  Carry pepper spray.  Lots and lots of pepper spray.  

GodSpeed_00's picture

I guess that's fine if you don't mind your car being wrecked.

El Vaquero's picture

If they even attempt it, I'll ratchet the violence up.  I'm a human.  I use tools to do things.  I'm not going to play fair with them.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) Laddie Jan 22, 2017 12:36 PM

There's nothing wrong with protesters.  In fact it is protected speech. 


Rioting - Illegal

Destruction of Property - Illegal

Paying Protestors to protest - should be Illegal

Assault - Illegal

Disrupting Traffic/Egress - Illegal

Tresspassing on Private Property - Illegal


TeethVillage88s's picture

Corruption with money apparently is always legal.

"Paying Protestors to protest - should be Illegal"

They cause inflation in all industries, then the people they want to corrupt get back room deals to lessen the effect of Inflation.

DeathMerchant's picture

There is yet another campaign underway to convince people that there is a campaign to shut down dissenting speech.

bh2's picture

People have every right to protest. They have no right to interfere with the rights of others to move freely and without obstruction or danger of harm.

The Jaguar's picture

Protesting is one thing, you carry a sign, abide by the laws etc.
That is not what the left do, they riot and burn, that is not ok period.

Montgomery Burns's picture

Protest all you want, just don't block streets and peoples access to businesses, don't trespass on private property, don't litter, etc. You know, all the laws the rest of us obey, or pay the price.


BrownCoat's picture

Obstructing traffic is already a crime. Therre is no need for a new law, just a will to enforce existing laws. The new law will infringe on the peaceful exercise of free speech. Tell the Blue Meanies to stop criminal behavior. The blue thug tax collectors spend most of their time issuing revenue generating citations. 

BTW, when a crowd does obstruct traffic, when have the police arrested the perps? Around here, NEVER! 

supersajin's picture

Just wait until they target online...many of you won't be laughing then...

bh2's picture

If people online have the ability to obstruct the rights of others or violate other "rules of the road" for use of a particular website, they are suspended by moderators.

There is, likewise, no constitutional right which extends to interfering with the rights of others, and doing so incurs the possibility of arrest.

WillyGroper's picture

double edged sword.  nevermind the fw's.  they'll eventually receive darwin awards.

take a look at this guy...he hung himself because of it.



MFL5591's picture

Need to remove Soros from America and take his money away from him.  He is the epitamy of a home grown terroist!

Laddie's picture

Soros, true name Gyorgy Schwartz, is by birth Hungarian of a Jewish background.

flaunt's picture

Is this statement "anti-semitic?"  If so, why?

Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but almost all terrorists are Muslim.

Not every Jew is working to undermine and destroy Western Civilization, but almost all those leading the effort to destroy Western Civilization are Jews.


Ignatius's picture

"Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but almost all terrorists are Muslim."

Simply not true, but completely consistent with the constructed, primarily false flag propaganda.

Cynicles's picture

agreed, yet one must consider who derermines who a terrorists is, the peramiters or requirements

-simply any dissenter from the official narrative seems to be the increasing culprit  

WillyGroper's picture

" from America?"


cheech_wizard's picture

Apparently you have not been following the plight of our oppressed bovine brethren in California.

Standard Disclaimer: Fart freely!


Cynicles's picture

No need. That will be covered under the new law [mandate] punishing those that dissent with the official point of view (ie: the Gov).

The only opinion, potision allowed is that of the state. All those espousing any other stance will be swiftly and mecrilessly punished.

How is it possible this is acceptable to people who claim to live in the land of the free???

Perimetr's picture

In order to be truly safe

we should make it illegal to think about protesting.

Face recognition software can be used to identify criminals as they commit the crime.


Handful of Dust's picture

violent soros-funded protesters and BLM violence are ruining a good thing when they loot, burn, kill people.

AlaricBalth's picture

Obviously by design. By fomenting civil unrest, Soros knows the government will be forced to stifle any protest in the name of public protection.

scottch's picture

"stifle any rioting"  Fixed for ya

Andre's picture

No, protest. Think DAPL.

Tiwin's picture

Sorry ,you statist tool, it is the cops burning and breaking windows to discredit constitutionally protected free speech.
Not every whisper of discontent is paid for by Osama bin Soros.

DeathMerchant's picture

Most of us recognize a real tool when we see one.

1980XLS's picture

That's why Soros' goons wearing masks.

DeathMerchant's picture

Don't look now but the boogeyman is atsnding right behind you.