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Idaho health board meeting halted after ‘intense protests’


BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK-AP) — Idaho public health officials abruptly ended a meeting Tuesday after the mayor and chief of police said intense protests outside the health department building — as well as outside some health officials’ homes — were threatening public safety.

The request from Boise Mayor Lauren McLean and local police came after one health board member, Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo, tearfully interrupted the online meeting to say she had to rush home to be with her child because protesters were banging outside her front door.

The board had been expected to vote on a four-county mask mandate in Idaho’s most populated region.

Police arrested one protester and said they are seeking arrest warrants for others.

Governor Brad Little issued a short tweet addressing the issue Wednesday morning.

“The actions of protestors at the private residences of public officials is reprehensible. It is nothing more than a bullying tactic that seeks to silence. Our right to free speech should not be used to intimidate and scare others.  There is no place for this behavior in Idaho. I urge calm among Idahoans so we can get through the pandemic together, stronger,” said Little.

While protestors were threatening health district officials, another section of Boise was also vandalized. The Associated Press reported, “Staffers at the Idaho Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in downtown Boise Wednesday said the memorial was defaced with swastika stickers. The stickers also included the words, “We are everywhere.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Benjamin Earwicker issued the following statement on behalf of the Idaho Human Rights Commission:

“The Idaho Human Rights Commission strongly denounces the uncivil and threatening behavior against public officials and the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights.  Protesting in a manner that degrades, threatens, and intimidates anyone abuses the constitutional right to free speech. We condemn ongoing, reprehensible, and abusive acts against public officials and their families and the posting of Nazi symbols at the Anne Frank Memorial. The Idaho Human Rights Commission stands against such acts of hate and in support of civil and human rights for all Idahoans, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, ability, sex, or age.”

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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