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[Breaking Update]Police just Arrest Driver that honked for peace!

[Breaking Update]Police just Arrest Driver that honked for peace!
by JR [Subscribe]
Sat Aug 27th, 2005 at 18:51:23 PDT

I'm standing on a street in St Pete as I type. Two cars were just stopped and at least one arrest ensued after the passing drivers honked their horns in support of our protest.

Call the St Pete police and ask when we lost the right to honk for peace! 727-893-7780

Email the mayor and demand he take action here

Here's some backstory:

Six protesters with the anti-war group St. Pete for Peace, including three under 18 years old, were arrested Aug. 6 outside a trendy downtown St. Petersburg development owned by Sembler Co., founded by a former Republican National Committee finance chairman and major contributor to President Bush.

The protesters were demonstrating against the Iraq War outside BayWalk, a complex of shops and restaurants owned by the development firm started by Bush-backer and former Ambassador to Italy Melvin Sembler. Protests by groups such as St. Pete for Peace and the Democratic Uhuru Movement are regular fixtures on the public sidewalk outside the development. Sembler Co. has reportedly attempted to- purchase the sidewalk in question from the city. Metal barricades were recently placed across the sidewalk by the St. Petersburg Police Department. Police spokesman Bill Proffitt has stated that the barricades are meant to aid pedestrian safety. "This is just our attempt to make sure that everyone who goes to BayWalk can go there safely," Proffitt said of the barricades.

Protesters claim the barricades are meant to force demonstrators either into traffic or onto Sembler property, making them subject to arrest for trespassing. At a press conference on August 9, ACLU spokesman Mark Kamleiter rejected police claims, saying, "Nobody is getting pushed into the streets." He later added, "these people have no access to the media. The only way that they can have an impact is to get out on the sidewalk and talk."

The first demonstrator arrested on the 6th was a 14 year-old who had stepped onto Sembler Co. property in an attempt to pass the barricade. The property line is unmarked. Following that arrest another protester was arrested for trespass while attempting to film the first protester's arrest. The remaining arrests occurred when several members of St. Pete for Peace blocked the police van carrying the youth and the cameraman.

Sembler Co., founded by Ambassador Sembler, donated $100,000 to the Bush-Cheney 2001 Inaugural Committee. In 1999-2000 Sembler and his wife together donated over $20,000 to Republican candidates and gave $5,000 to the Bush-Cheney Recount Fund. Sembler personally donated $25,000 to the RNC in 2004, as well as several thousand to Republican candidates, including President Bush.

St. Pete for Peace says the Saturday evening protests will continue at BayWalk indefinitely.

End the war! [UPDATE:] 10:14 Mark Kamleiter of the ACLU has announced that he will handle the legal defense for the drivers and any other protesters arrested or cited for exercising their rights. Thank God for the ACLU!



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Sounds like the Grinch is at work here.

Sembler is one of the Bush favorites. St. Petersburg is a poorly run city, and they have a terrible police chief. The chief apparently does not know the law nor expect his officers to uphold the law. Those protesters have been treated so poorly by Baywalk, which is a dreadful place anyway, and the policy apparently work for Sembler. What a shame. Power to the people and PEACE. St.Pete for Peace is a wonderful, lawful, caring organization. Thank you for caring!

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