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Washington Republican proposes charging protestors with ‘economic terrorism’

A Republican state lawmaker who was an outspoken supporter of President-elect Donald Trump is proposing a bill that would allow authorities to charge protesters with committing “economic terrorism.”

{mosads}“I respect the right to protest, but when it endangers people’s lives and property, it goes too far,” Washington state Sen. Doug Ericksen said in a statement. “Fear, intimidation and vandalism are not a legitimate form of political expression. Those who employ it must be called to account.

“We are not just going after the people who commit these acts of terrorism,” he added. “We are going after the people who fund them. Wealthy donors should not feel safe in disrupting middle-class jobs.”

The proposed bill would make protesting a class C felony should it cause any sort of “economic disruption” or “jeopardize human life and property.” Such a proposal would mean violators could face five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.

Any group who organizes a protest that is considered disruptive would also be charged with “economic terrorism.” The law would not apply to strikes or picketing.

The bill is aimed at protests in the Pacific Northwest, often by environmental activists, that are aimed at shutting down commerce and transportation.

Protesters in Olympia, Wash., recently camped out for more than a week on railway tracks to stop a shipment of sand used for fracking.

The bill is also being proposed at a time when anti-Trump protests are taking place across the country, including in Washington. Protests in Seattle have been reported to be peaceful and nonviolent so far.

– This story was corrected on Nov. 18. A previous version contained incorrect information about the bill. The Hill regrets the error.

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