What, exactly, is “illegal protest”? No one truly knows despite all of the government officials who think they do. This is why a Washington state senator’s latest attempt to make his interpretation of “illegal protests” worth a felony is such a major concern.
Senator Doug Ericksen plans to propose a bill in the state senate that will work to end what he considers to be “illegal protests.” Ericksen, who is Republican and campaigned for Donald Trump, looks to have the bill ready for the next legislative session, according to the Bellingham Herald.
“I respect the right to protest, but when it endangers people’s lives and property, it goes too far,” Ericksen said. “Fear, intimidation and vandalism are not a legitimate form of political expression. Those who employ it must be called to account.
If Ericksen’s proposed bill becomes law, there’s no telling to what lengths legislators will go to prosecute people who are only expressing their first amendment rights by protesting. Sure, it may be inconvenient for some people while protesters block traffic in honor of black lives, but that’s their right.
“We’re already concerned that some of its loose terms appear to be targeting civil disobedience as ‘terrorism.’ That’s the kind of excessive approach to peaceful protest that our country and state do not need. Let’s keep in mind that civil rights protesters who sat down at lunch counters could be seen as ‘disrupting business’ and ‘obstructing economic activity,’ and their courageous actions were opposed by segregationists as trying to ‘coerce’ business and government,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Washington spokesman Doug Honig.