Protests on I-93 Cause Major Traffic Delays; 29 Arrested

Protesters blocked I-93 Southbound in Medford (pictured) and I-93 Northbound in Milton Thursday morning.
Protesters blocked I-93 Southbound in Medford (pictured) and I-93 Northbound in Milton Thursday morning.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Hurley

Protesters shut down I-93 Northbound at East Milton Square and I-93 Southbound in the Medford-Somerville area during the Thursday morning commute causing major traffic backups, according to Massachusetts State police.

Police reported that 29 people from the protest were arrested while MassDOT said all lanes at the Milton scene were again open to traffic by 10:00 a.m.

The protest was organized by the Boston contingent of the group Black Lives Matter, according to an Associated Press report. In a statement posted Thursday morning on the group’s Facebook page, the protest was held “to ‘disrupt business as usual’ and protest police and state violence against Black people.”

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Massachusetts State Police said this morning that the protest blocked an ambulance traveling to a Boston hospital from Easton, diverting it to a smaller hospital in southeastern Mass. The ambulance was carrying a car crash victim with life-threatening injuries.

State Police Colonel Tim Alben called the incident “immature and irresponsible” according to WBZ. “We clearly understand first amendment rights and we respect those,” he said. “If you go onto an interstate highway you endanger lives.”

Here are photos from the scene in Milton, where State police reported that protesters attached themselves to 1,200-pound barrels:

16protests - A State Police officer uses a saw to cut into a barrel that protesters attached themselves to and filled with concrete, while blocking Rt 93N in Milton, Mass. on Jan. 15, 2015 during morning rush hour. (Scott Eisen for The Boston Globe)
Police used a saw to cut into one of the barrels.
Scott Eisen for The Boston Globe

Here is a photo from the scene earlier at Exit 30 in Medford, where protesters’ arms were attached as they blocked traffic (photo via Anne Ruthmann):