Pro-Palestinian demonstrators coordinated protests on Monday around the country by  blocking key roadways, vital bridges and airport access,  including at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, WA.

The protesters are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza where Israel is trying to root out Hamas and rescue hostages held by Hamas in the Oct. 7th attack on Israel.  Protestors say innocent civilians have died as a result.

Sea-Tac spokesperson Perry Cooper told The Center Square airport officials were aware of the protests across the country and were prepared when  protesters arrived.

 “They drove multiple vehicles up onto the expressway and essentially then stopped and blocked every vehicle behind them," Cooper said. "Then protesters came out of their vehicles and sat down in between the two sets of cars they had parked, blocking the road."
Several activists used a tactic of handcuffing themselves together with their arms inside of PVC pipes.  46 arrests were reported.

Back on Jan. 6th, demonstrators blocked north bound lanes of I-5 through downtown Seattle for five hours, resulting in six mile backups.

Did Washington State Lawmakers Try to Outlaw  Disruptive Protests?

The Washington State Legislature had an opportunity to crack down on this type of disruption with proposed legislation back in January.

HB 2358 offered more severe penalties for demonstrators blocking state highways.  

The bill would classify three or more people who block traffic without any legal authority as a gross misdemeanor infraction. If the protest presented a danger to public safety, risk of injury, delayed ambulance response, or if individuals refused to disperse when ordered, the violation would be considered a felony.

HB2358 failed to get support and was not passed during the 60-day session.

State Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, released a statement after the disruption at Sea-Tac airport on Monday.

“People have the right to peaceably protest, but they don’t have the right to put themselves and drivers at risk by blocking access to our busiest airport," the Senate Republican leader said. "I understand that the point is to cause a disturbance in a highly visible location, but disrupting transportation and commerce like this is illegal and does nothing to further anyone’s cause. Travelers should not have had to get out of their cars and walk the rest of the way to get to the airport to make their flights or pick up loved ones."

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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

 

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