Jan 8 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recently introduced the Safe and Open Streets Act, legislation that would make it a federal crime to purposely obstruct, delay, or affect commerce by blocking a public road or highway. 

The Safe and Open Streets Act is in direct response to radical tactics of pro-Palestine protestors who have intentionally blocked roads and highways across the country. In November, protestors completely blocked the Durham Freeway in Durham, North Carolina during rush hour, stranding drivers and compromising the free flow of commerce. No arrests were made. Late last month, during one of the busiest travel days of the year, protestors blocked airport access roads in New York City and Los Angeles. 

The Safe and Open Streets Act would penalize lawbreakers through fines or up to five years of imprisonment.

“The emerging tactic of radical protestors blocking roads and stopping commerce is not only obnoxious to innocent commuters, but it’s also dangerous and will eventually get people killed. It needs to be a crime throughout the country,” said Senator Tillis. “I’m proud to introduce the Safe and Open Streets Act so radical activists who resort to these reckless and dangerous tactics are held accountable under the full weight of the law for endangering public safety.” 

“Blocking major roads to stop traffic flows is nothing short of lawlessness that should not be tolerated,” said Senator Blackburn. “These activists are not only intentionally creating a dangerous situation for themselves, but perhaps for a citizen who is awaiting an ambulance or a hard worker who will lose their job for being late. The Safe and Open Streets Act is critical to stopping this reckless behavior, particularly by Hamas sympathizers, in our U.S. cities.”

The text of the Safe and Open Streets Act can be found here