The disturbing pattern of liberals conflating the idea of protests or free speech with criminal disruption of commerce and infrastructure continued yesterday with yet another “demonstration” in the hours before a planned Donald Trump rally in Fountain Hills, Arizona. Most of the candidates were visiting the Grand Canyon State in the final hours before their primary on Tuesday and Trump was no exception. But before the event could even begin, several dozen “progressive” activists decided that people shouldn’t be allowed to attend the rally, or indeed get anywhere near Fountain Hills. To ensure this disruption of all private and commercial activity they used vehicles and human bodies to close down the only ready access to the community, as described by Jenna Johnson at the Washington Post.
Protesters on Saturday blocked an Arizona highway that served as a route into this Phoenix suburb where Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump had a campaign rally scheduled for 2 p.m. Eastern time.
The protesters first blocked traffic with a pair of pickup trucks, with banners reading “Comb Over Racism: Dump Trump” and “Shut down Trump,” as seen from aerial footage aired by Fox 10 Phoenix, a local TV affiliate. As the trucks were later towed away to clear a path for traffic, protesters formed a human wall. Traffic finally resumed along the highway, a main route into the suburb hosting the rally, after officers began arresting protesters. Three were arrested, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in his remarks introducing Trump.
As the coverage suggests, traffic was almost entirely shut down and vehicles were backed up for miles. What’s truly notable in this case is the specific location of the blockade, demonstrating a very specific plan by the protesters. There’s a better description at CNN.
The protesters in Arizona parked vehicles sideways on Shea Boulevard, blocking both lanes of traffic into Fountain Hills, where Trump held a rally Saturday afternoon, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joaquin Enriquez told CNN.
Enriquez described Shea Boulevard as the main artery into the area and the protesters’ actions were causing motorists to drive into oncoming traffic as they tried to get around them. Traffic was backed up for miles due to the blockage.
There is essentially one entry point into the community of Fountain Hills from the main route through the area. (Rt. 87, Beeline Highway.) That choke point is East Shea Blvd. Just past the blockade is the turn onto the road leading to Fountain Park, the site of the rally. Do you know what else is on East Shea a few miles further down? The Mayo Clinic… the only hospital in the immediate area. Not everyone on the road that day was heading to the Trump rally. The majority of them simply needed to get in and out of Fountain Hills, the site of many homes and businesses. And yes… that could have included ambulances heading for the hospital.
Clearly the liberals involved in these “protests” have learned their lessons from the Black Lives Matter movement. Rather than assembling peacefully to make their voices heard and get their message out, they have regularly resorted to criminal behavior on a massive scale, shutting down commerce and doing their best to “disrupt” the normal flow of traffic. Unfortunately, law enforcement in cities around the country seems to be completely unprepared for this sort of lawlessness, perhaps fearing the inevitable slanted coverage they would get in the media for doing their jobs. Even here, in Joe Arpaio’s back yard, they only managed to arrest three people and tow away a couple of vehicles. With as much advance notice as they had to prepare, one might expect that the sheriff would have had a small army of officers in the area with vans ready to haul off criminals on a large scale and quickly reestablish order.
Intentionally shutting down a highway – particularly one which serves as an effective choke point to an entire community – is not a “protest.” It’s a violation of the law which serves no interest in terms of free speech or messaging. Minnesota recently introduced legislation which would make the authors of such disruption pay for the extra costs imposed on the local community. Arizona and the rest of the states should look into similar remedies since this is quickly turning into the new normal. The Sheriff could (and should) have arrested everyone blocking that road, gotten all of their information and ensured that they were held responsible for the costs in addition to spending a bit of time behind bars to remind them of the serious consequences of their actions. As long as we keep treating this sort of criminal behavior as acceptable, normal demonstrations of free speech we will only embolden more scofflaws considering similar dangerous actions.
We’ll close with a brief video from Fox News providing an overview of the mayhem.