Seven people taking part in an Indigenous People’s Day protest who used a box truck and two other vehicles to block traffic on I-95 in Providence Monday night were arrested and charged disorderly conduct and conspiracy.
Rhode Island State Police said the seven included a 15-year old juvenile male, who was released to a guardian. The others were held overnight for arraignment on the misdemeanor charges in District Court in Providence Tuesday.
According to State Police and eyewitness accounts, the group began at the State House, then proceeded on to the highway near the Providence Place Mall, where they parked a box truck with U-Haul markings across the road, placed several cones on the highway blocking all four northbound lanes and set off fireworks. Traffic was blocked for about seven minutes.
The group unfurled a banner reading, “A genocide happened here Rhode Island is guilty!”
“This was an extremely dangerous situation, but luckily no one was hurt by the reckless conduct of these individuals,” said State Police Superintendent Colonel James M. Manni in a statement.
“While we respect the right to peacefully protest, we have zero tolerance for those who endanger the lives of others by purposefully blocking traffic and will arrest and charge anyone who does so. The safety of everyone on the highway is our highest priority and we are thankful for the reports from the public that helped us to respond quickly,” Manni said.