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OSP says 52 protesters arrested, jailed for blocking I-5 in Eugene; similar protests reported across US

More than 50 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested Monday for blocking I-5 in Eugene
More than 50 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested Monday for blocking I-5 in Eugene

(Update: New information from OSP; other protests around country)

EUGENE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Dozens of protesters who blocked Interstate 5 southbound in Eugene Monday morning were arrested for disorderly conduct in an operation that involved more than 130 law enforcement, fire and ODOT personnel, and at least one was found to be in possession of a gun, Oregon State Police reported.

Around 10 a.m., troopers responded to I-5 southbound at milepost 194 in Eugene to reports of protesters blocking the interstate. Protesters blocked all southbound traffic lanes near the Barlow Bridge. 

Throughout the incident, demonstrators were given continuous lawful orders to disperse before dozens of people were arrested for disorderly conduct, OSP said.

Photos show people were locking arms in a line across the interstate, some holding Palestinian flags.

Troopers later said 52 people were arrested for disorderly conduct, while two were also charged with conspiracy and second-degree theft. All were booked into the Lane County Jail, and six vehicles were towed from the scene.

The interstate traffic was stopped for approximately 45 minutes. Southbound lanes are now open, OSP reported shortly after noon; however, law enforcement remained on the scene while observers continue to gather along the highway. 

"Oregon State Police supports an individual’s right to lawfully protest and express concerns over world events," the agency said in a news release. "However, today’s actions put Oregon’s motorists in danger as well as the protestors who blocked the roadway."

OSP added, "At this time, future comments will be limited due to the ongoing criminal investigations."

OSP later said the "incident required a significant law enforcement response. Responding agencies included: 

  • Eugene Police Department – 31 officers; 1 transport van 
  • Springfield Police Department – 22 officers; 1 transport van
  • Lane County Sheriff’s Office – 20 deputies; 2 jail vans    
  • Oregon State Police – 48 troopers 
  • Oregon Department of Transportation Incident Response – 6 personnel 
  • Springfield Fire Department and Eugene Fire Department  

"OSP would like to thank area law enforcement agencies for their partnership and response to this incident," they added.

Several similar protests were also reported in other parts of the country Monday morning. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked a freeway leading to three Chicago O'Hare International Airport terminals Monday morning, temporarily stopping vehicle traffic into one of the nation's busiest airports. 

Traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area was also snarled for four hours Monday morning as pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down all traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge and stalled a 17-mile stretch of Interstate 880 in Oakland.

A large protest also took place along Wall Street in New York City and one was reported in the afternoon blocking the route to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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