posted on Mar, 9 2003 @ 06:27 PM
Peace Protestors Arrested and Detained in Baltimore Suburb
BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
by Maria Allwine
On Saturday, March 1, eight members (five men, three women) of the Baltimore Iraq Pledge of Resistance were arrested at the Towsontown Mall in
Baltimore County for distributing anti-war leaflets to mall shoppers.
The group was peaceful, non-confrontational, non-verbal unless engaged first by someone with questions and/or desire to know more and careful not to
impede traffic or interfere with access to stores and walkways. Although we were there as a group, we acted as individuals so as not to create a
The "disturbance" occurred only when about fifteen Baltimore County police showed up. The group was asked to leave and refused to do so, citing our
First Amendment rights, which, at least as of this date, are still part of our Constitution. After dialogue with the police, eight of us were arrested
and led out of the mall to hundreds of applauding shoppers, most of whom were supporting the group's action.
We were held for 14 hours, overnight, in the Baltimore County jail, Towson precinct with no food, one cup of water between us three women (there were
5 men as well), many of us handcuffed the entire 14 hours to a metal bench, all of us in leg shackles. The air conditioner was on us all night, even
though it was about 25 degrees outside. One police officer chanted USA, USA, No Blood for Oil - and then made the sound of bombs falling and exploding
over our cell speakers - an action we consider harassment.
The police were careful to say that we have every right to our beliefs and to protest but their holding us for 14 hours, charging us with THREE
misdemeanors (trespass, disorderly conduct -- impeding traffic -- and failure to obey a lawful order) and engaging in the harassment just described
was designed to send us and anti-war activists everywhere the message that we have NO RIGHT to exercise our First Amendment rights. All eight of us
were released on our own recognizance and have a trial date scheduled for June 10 in Towson District Court at which we will vigorously defend our
right to express our disagreement with the immoral policies of our government.
Our action was extremely successful. We distributed over 500 anti-war leaflets to mall shoppers and our very visible arrest showed hundreds of people
that our anti-war beliefs are so deeply held that we are willing to endure arrest and detainment to keep our Constitution alive by expressing them in
a peaceful, non-violent manner.
We of the Baltimore Iraq Pledge of Resistance have been truly inspired by our arrest and detainment to further acts of civil resistance. You can plan
on hearing more from us.