Crime

Don’t block freeways in May Day protests, state patrol says, referencing Bellingham blockade

#noDAPL protesters block Interstate 5 in Bellingham

Protesters blocked Interstate 5 northbound at Lakeway for more than an hour Saturday, Feb. 11, demonstrating over the Tuesday announcement by the U.S. Department of the Army to grant easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. Traffic backed up 4 mil
Up Next
Protesters blocked Interstate 5 northbound at Lakeway for more than an hour Saturday, Feb. 11, demonstrating over the Tuesday announcement by the U.S. Department of the Army to grant easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. Traffic backed up 4 mil

The Washington State Patrol referenced a crash during a protest that blocked Interstate 5 in Bellingham to warn May Day demonstrators in King County against blocking freeways.

The state patrol said Tuesday it would have troopers on call over the May 1 holiday to respond to any efforts to block stretches of the interstate, and would make arrests if necessary.

“This is not about politics, this is about public safety,” Capt. Ron Mead, head of the state patrol’s District 2, said in a statement. Mead’s district encompasses King County, where May Day demonstrations have grown violent in recent years.

“To that end, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to safeguard the rights of peaceful protestors, but will not tolerate any interference with blocking the freeway system,” Mead said.

The brief statement ended with mention of a crash along I-5 south of Bellingham on Feb. 11. That rollover, which injured one person, was a result of a blockade protesters had made just south of the Lakeway Drive exit in the northbound lanes, the state patrol said.

i5 protest_2
Protesters block northbound Interstate Five at Lakeway Drive in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in Bellingham. In preparation for May Day, state patrol officials in King County are referencing the Bellingham protest to warn demonstrators against blocking freeways. Evan Abell eabell@bhamherald.com

“Protest safely and within the confines of the law,” the statement said.

The state patrol is still investigating the Bellingham demonstration and hopes to file charges on as many participants as possible, Trooper Travis Shearer, a WSP spokesman, said Tuesday.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

  Comments