Washington state senator faces backlash after proposing to criminalize 'illegal' protests

A new bill would target protests for "economic terrorism."
(Image credit: Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)

A Washington state senator plans to propose a bill banning "illegal protests," although many of his critics say his definition of "illegal protests" sounds suspiciously like "protests" in general. Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen announced Wednesday that he wanted to create the crime of "economic terrorism" and "allow the felony prosecution of people involved in protests that block transportation and commerce, damage property, threaten jobs, and put public safety at risk," KOMO News reports.

"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," American Civil Liberties Union of Washington spokesman Doug Honig told The Associated Press.

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