by Kenneth Fine
A bill introduced in the state House today could label some disruptive protesters as “economic terrorists” and criminalizes blocking streets while participating “in a riot or other unlawful assembly.” […]The state ACLU was less than thrilled when the bill was proposed. At the time, spokesman Mike Meno said that "people should view these attempts to either outright curb protests or have a chilling effect on people's ability to protest as a really great threat." So it's no surprise that the organization celebrated the bill's failure.
The bill seems to fall in line with others filed recently by Republican legislators nationwide in an attempt to curb protesting. While much of the bill refers to activities that are already criminalized in North Carolina, one provision would add a new penalty for blocking streets during an unlawful protest. The measure would add to the state's definition of violent terrorism a separate category of “economic terrorism,” which would be considered a Class H felony—which doesn’t sound Orwellian at all.
VICTORY! Thank you to all our supporters who took action against this attack on the First Amendment! https://t.co/FWF4KTmjpG— ACLU-North Carolina (@ACLU_NC) April 25, 2017