Legislation proposed in light of highway protests


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — State Senator Lou Raptakis is proposing new legislation in light of a demonstration that tied-up traffic on I-95.

The legislation is aimed at coming down harder on people who take protesting too far.

The recent string of protests have led people to marching on to the highway, making for very dangerous situations for drivers and police.

“People have to clearly think, you just can’t protest anyway you want to,” said Sen. Lou Raptakis.

The senator introduced the bill Tuesday, which would make it a felony to protest on a highway.

“It’s a public safety issue, it endangers the lives of all,” said Raptakis. “I believe in First Amendment rights but to protest on a state highway, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

Last week in Boston, protesters made their way onto I-93 and chained themselves together. The demonstration backed up traffic for miles as police dragged the protestors off the highway, even causing an ambulance to be diverted.

Raptakis says the bill is all about putting public safety first.

“It could delay individuals being transported to the hospital, could risk their lives. Also risks the lives of public safety officials trying to prevent this issue from happening,” he said.

The message is clear from the senator, if you violate the provisions of the bill, then you will face a felony with mandatory jail time.

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