Rhode Island State Police (RISP) say that seven people have been arrested and charged in connection with a protest activity that blocked a roadway and caused a significant traffic backup last night.
The protest happened on northbound Route 95 in Providence around 9:30 p.m. on Monday.
Troopers say that a U-Haul box truck and two other vehicles were stopped in the active lanes of traffic on Route 95 north, blocking all four lanes during a protest activity.
The purpose of the protest was reportedly to demand that the “Columbus Day” holiday be changed to “Indigenous People’s Day.”
After using vehicles to block the road, RISP says that individuals set up traffic cones, held up signs, and prevented any vehicles from passing through, resulting in a traffic backup of about half a mile.
Troopers say that they received calls about the protest, but by the time officers arrived on scene, the vehicles were gone and the roadway was open. However, troopers spotted a U-Haul box truck matching the description of the one used during the protest near Route 95.
Troopers stopped the box truck and arrested the driver and six people in the rear of the truck.
Seven people were arrested, including a 15 year old male.
The adults arrested were listed by RISP as follows:
- Kade Page, 24
- Devin A. Costa, 24
- Cody B. Boyce, 24
- Evan C. Laferriere, 23
- Najeli Rodriguez, 19
- Julia A. Unger, 21
All six adults were charged with Disorderly Conduct and Conspiracy.
“This was an extremely dangerous situation, but luckily no one was hurt by the reckless conduct of these individuals,” said Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety. “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.”