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Protester: Negative Reaction To I-93 Demonstration 'Hard To Stomach'

BOSTON (CBS) — One of the protesters arrested for shutting down Interstate 93 in Milton reacted on social media to the public outcry against the demonstrations that snarled traffic for thousands of commuters.

Watch: Protesters Decline To Talk To WBZ

Mark Schwaller of Jamaica Plain pleaded not guilty on Thursday to to trespassing, throwing glass on a public way, willfully obstructing an emergency vehicle, conspiracy, disorderly conduct and throwing an object on a public way.

Related: Boston Commuter Says Cars Swerved To Avoid I-93 Protesters

On Friday, Schwaller posted to his Facebook page about the reaction to the group's protest.

"The amount of hate swirling around this action is pretty incredible, and hard to stomach. Nevertheless, the love of a few mighty souls is penetrating all of it, for me, at least," Schwaller wrote.

He later deleted the post.

WBZ-TV's Ken MacLeod went to Schwaller's apartment in Jamaica Plain hoping for some perspective. He didn't get that but he did get tossed by another man there.

"I need you to leave our property immediately," the man said. "I'm sorry that's all I have to say."

WBZ-TV's Ken MacLeod reports

In Somerville, MacLeod buzzed the apartment door of protester Nicole Sullivan. On the intercom, a man said, "This is harassment please leave."

WBZ also went to the upscale Brookline home where protester Jim Billman lives with his parents.

"He's not here actually," a female voice said through the door. "He's not giving any interviews. Please go away."

The only arrested demonstrator who agreed to talk briefly was Occupy Boston veteran Noah McKenna, who lives at his dad's home in Jamaica Plain.

"I feel pretty tired," McKenna said a day after he sat on I-93 with his arm inside a 55 gallon cement barrel. "I have a pretty good deal of pain in my arm."

Noah McKenna
Noah McKenna (WBZ-TV)

"I'm not going to discuss the particulars about how this action was planned," McKenna said.

But McKenna did argue that any commuter inconvenience or ambulance delay was small stuff when compared to the injustice black Americans face at the hands of police.

He admitted the backlash from the protest had him worried about his safety.

"I'm actually uncomfortable with this being filmed here," McKenna said.

In Milton, six protesters who blocked the road by connecting themselves to barrels filled with concrete in the middle of I-93 were were arrested. Three people who watched from nearby were taken into custody, and two others were arrested when returning the truck to a rental facility.

Eighteen protesters in Medford were also arrested for creating a human chain and blocking traffic on I-93 around the same time as the Milton protests.


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