Virginia State Police arrested 43 demonstrators who blocked traffic on Interstate 95 near Va. 234 on Friday evening.
About 7 p.m., troopers were alerted to a group of about 75 demonstrators walking north in the right shoulder and right travel lane of I- 95 after they gained access to the interstate via the Exit 152 ramp.
The group marched north stopping all travel on I-95 and then gained access to the Express Lanes, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. The protesters then blocked the Express Lanes and started to head south when state police were able to approach them.
"State police gave multiple verbal commands to the protesters to move off to the left side of the interstate and out of traffic for their safety," Geller said. "It was announced several more times that the crowd was an unlawful assembly and risked being arrested, as pedestrians are prohibited on an interstate and for impeding the flow of traffic of others. The crowd refused to comply with the multiple verbal commands."
As state troopers approached the group, several protesters began running across the travel lanes and into the woods, police said. Troopers did not pursue those individuals. None of the protesters were struck by vehicles.
State police made 43 charges that included unlawful assembly, obstructing free passage of others and obstruction of justice, Geller said.
In addition, there were four juveniles among the group who were released on a summons to a guardian. All adults taken into custody.
"Due to the heavy Friday evening traffic and rain, the safety of the pedestrians was of concern and the Express Lanes remained closed until all individuals were safely removed from the travel lanes" about 8:30 p.m., Geller said.