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Bill proposed that shields drivers from civil lawsuits if they injure protesters who are blocking streets

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The great state of Tennessee has proposed a bill that would shield drivers from legal action if they accidentally injure a protester who blocks the road.

State Senator Bill Ketron, who introduced the bill, said that there is a time and place for protesting, with a busy street being anything but the right time or place.

“We believe that citizens have the right to protest. There is a procedure for peaceful protests and the purpose of that process is to protect the safety of our citizens,” the senator from Murfreesboro said. “Protesters have no right to be in the middle of the road or our highways for their own safety and the safety of the traveling public.”

According to News 4 San Antonio, Representative Matthew Hill made it very clear that -contrary to public hubub- the bill is not a blessing by the state to run down a protester with their vehicle.

“We are not endorsing anyone running over a person with a car, whether it is protesters or anyone else,” Hill said. “If someone intentionally harms a person, they are going to be charged with a crime, period. There is a clear difference, however, between peacefully protesting and lawless rioters in the middle of a public roadway who jeopardize the safety of our families. This is a public safety bill that is meant to protect everyone’s right to peacefully protest and I look forward to seeing this commonsense legislation passed into law.”

DC Women’s March participant Katie Jacobs is disheartened by the proposal, claiming it puts unfair leverage against the protesters.

“Oh, you’re protesting so it’s your fault if you get hurt,” said Jacobs mockingly. “I feel like that’s the attitude some people would take. And that’s not the direction we want to go in.”

Chattanooga Tea Party president Mark West countered, saying that his organization never blocked traffic and that the primary concern of the legislation rests on protecting law enforcement.

“It’s already a violation of the law to obstruct traffic and obstruct highways,” said Mark West. “When they’re doing that, we shouldn’t have citizens confront citizens. We should have law enforcement confront the violators of the law.”

Similar bills have been proposed in the state of North Dakota following excessive issues with unruly behavior at the Standing Rock pipeline protests.

 

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