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Eye On Boise

ISP: Six anti-megaloads protesters arrested, future protesters warned

The Idaho State Police has issued a statement acknowledging that it arrested six anti-megaloads protesters on Aug. 26, after those people failed to disperse after repeated warnings, though other protesters did leave. "A large number of people lined the streets within the City of Moscow both in opposition and support of the megaload," the first very, very large load of Canada-bound oil equipment to come through Moscow from the Port of Lewiston on that date, ISP Capt. Lonnie Richardson said in the statement. "Some individuals chose and were allowed to temporarily protest the movement of the load by sitting down on US-95. After some time was allowed for the sit down protest, an order to disperse was given. We appreciate those who acknowledged and followed the dispersal order."

The six who refused were arrested for assembly to disturb the peace and refusal to disperse, Richardson said.  "The Idaho State Police fully recognizes, acknowledges and is sworn to uphold the constitution including an individual's 1st Amendment rights, and the Idaho State Police will not interfere with the rights of an individual to peacefully assemble and protest until it becomes a matter of public safety. Allowing the temporary sit down protest during the inaugural megaload transport on US-95, has afforded the opportunity for those interested to voice their protests in that manner.  The Idaho State Police now asks those that choose to protest during future movements of megaloads on US-95, to do so from the safety of a sidewalk or roadside outside the right-of-way."

He added, "The Idaho State Police has no desire to arrest anyone for exercising their rights.  However, prospectively, those who choose to not comply with officers; directions to not interfere with the movement of any vehicle on a highway, by walking or sitting on the highway or otherwise entering or remaining on the highway after being instructed to move, will immediately be physically removed from the roadway and arrested."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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