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Peace Protesters Arrested for Passing Out Peace Leaflets

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posted on Mar, 9 2003 @ 06:27 PM
Peace Protestors Arrested and Detained in Baltimore Suburb

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 disturbance.

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.

Maria Allwine
Baltimore, MD

posted on Mar, 9 2003 @ 07:07 PM
do you have a link to this news source?

posted on Mar, 9 2003 @ 07:10 PM
Sorry...forgot to copy it is...

posted on Mar, 10 2003 @ 11:54 AM
Malls are treated as "private" property, even though intended to be visited by the public. As such, the mall owners can trespass anyone they please.... Likewise, if they wanted you to stop passing out leaflets for a rival mall, they could do so. The only way they got arrested was refusal to leave...had they done so, and then protested on public property, they would not have gotten arrested (which, obviously, was their goal though....). Pretty transparent really...

posted on Mar, 10 2003 @ 12:31 PM
This sounds just like the story of the man and his son refusing to take off their peace shirts in the mall in NY. I don't think they should have been arrested for simply opposing the war, but it is private property and according to the story they were asked to leave and refused. If you are asked to leave private property and refuse, regardless of why, you have to anticipate some kind of problem. It appears, as Gaz said, that they wanted to be arrested to make some kind of point. I wonder if the situation would be different if they were doing this kind of protest on public property, lets say handing out their leaflets to drivers stopped at red lights. What is the definition of public property, I mean every piece of land is owned by somebody. If it's owned by the city or state and you pay taxes, would that be considered public property? If they were doing this like I said earlier at a traffic light, they could probably be arrested for impeding traffic. It's tough opposing the govt and/or police, it seems like they always find a way.

posted on Mar, 10 2003 @ 12:43 PM
A quick easy definition is, if you can't be arrested for "trespassing". Handing out pamphlets at such locations, would not be grounds for arrest. These people chose a mall, because it is a public place in most people's mindset, and then forced themselves to be arrested, as it was the media attention they were after (as it reaches more than the leaflets they were passing out...) I disagree with them asking the gents to take off their shirts though. Unless such clothing guidelines are posted, it's just bad publicity the way they behaved on that one.

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