On Tuesday, protesters shut down lanes of the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California, in response to the ongoing conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The protesters blocked southbound lanes of traffic causing significant delays.
The war in Nagorno-Karabakh is a long-standing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The conflict has flared up on several occasions in recent years.
Armenien supporters have called on the Biden administration to intervene.
The protests aim to highlight the plight of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and call for an end to the blockade of the Lachin Corridor.
Similar freeway blockades in support of Armenia have occurred since 2020. The latest protest on the 101 freeway was one of a number of protests that have been held around the world in recent months in support of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
A ceasefire announced on Wednesday appears to have largely brought the latest assault to a halt. Yet the latest fighting is a crisis the U.S. had every opportunity to prevent but spent months ignoring—prioritizing the preservation of energy ties with authoritarian Azerbaijan over the imminent threat to Armenian lives. (Source)
Opinion: Freeway insurrectionists shutting down lanes in protests for Armenia should be arrested
Peaceful protests have a long and proud history in the United States. They have been used to fight for civil rights, social justice, and environmental protection.
Peaceful protests are a protected right under the First Amendment, and they play an important role in our democracy.
However, blocking a freeway is not a peaceful protest, it is civil disobedience. It is a dangerous and disruptive act.
While blocking the freeway gets a local news coverage each time, it has not been an effective way to get the government's attention enough so to change its course of inaction in Armenia.
Protesting in such a way on the roads of Southern California is more likely to alienate the public and make the protesters' cause less sympathetic.
Blocking traffic is a violation of California law, and it can put motorists at risk.
Additionally, when these protests occur they cause significant traffic delays and disrupt the lives of citizens, while also draining law enforcement resources.
While the Armenian protesters' cause is understandable, their actions are illegal and dangerous.