Missouri protesters who repeatedly block traffic without permission could face felony charges under a bill passed by state senators.

The GOP-led Senate voted 24-9 Thursday to pass the bill. The measure follows protests last summer in the St. Louis area over the death of George Floyd, including demonstrations that blocked major highways.

Republican critics have argued the protest method might block ambulances and puts demonstrators at risk of being hit. Blocking traffic without permission would first be punished as an infraction under the bill.

A third offense would be a felony. Violators would face up to four years in prison.

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