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‘Self-centered act’: WSP suggests charges for I-5 protesters

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington State Patrol (WSP) is suggesting charges for three men and two women who allegedly participated in the Jan. 6 I-5 protest in downtown Seattle.

The protestors blocked all northbound lanes at Pine Street for five hours after cutting through a safety fence to enter the roadway, according to WSP.

As the group allegedly continued to ignore law enforcement, eight people tied themselves together in hopes of extending the blockade.

“While free speech is a sacred right in our democratic system, protests that have illegally moved onto and caused the closing of our freeways and streets have led to deadly outcomes in our state and others, and WSP is committed to deterring future incidents,” said a WSP spokesperson.

After the protestors left the freeway, the abandoned cars used to stop traffic were searched using bomb-sniffing dogs, before being towed away.

The recommended charges include criminal trespass, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct, and obstruction. Officials say two more protesters are still under investigation.

“Stepping foot on a freeway to highlight your own individual cause is a self-centered act that is dangerous, foolhardy, disruptive, and most assuredly illegal,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “We have asked for public assistance in identifying suspected lawbreakers during otherwise legal protests.”

If you have any information about the people in the attached photo gallery, WSP asks that you leave a tip at sistips@wsp.wa.gov.