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Jun-09-2008 01:59printcomments

Grannies on Trial for Protesting WWII Tank in Rose Festival

"A parade is a form of entertainment and it is wrong to include a tank in the streets of Portland, especially while our country is engaged in a war in which thousands of soldiers and civilians have died."- Bonnie Tinker

The Grannie Brigade as they have been called, has been protesting the war overseas for several years.
The Grannie Brigade as they have been called, has been protesting the war overseas for several years.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - One year after protesting the presence of a WWII tank in the 2007 Rose Festival Parade, two members of "The Seriously Pissed Off Grannies" will be tried on June 9th on charges of "disorderly conduct" and "interfering with a peace officer." The trial will be before Judge Fuchs in room 528 of the County Courthouse and will start at 9:30 AM on June 9th.

Sara Graham and Bonnie Tinker will both testify that their actions were directly tied to freedom of speech. Graham said that after unsuccessfully trying to persuade the Rose Festival not to include a tank, she felt she had no alternative but to protest: "I decided that it was my duty to exercise my constitutional rights of free speech to make a public statement that a tank should not drive through the streets of Portland, that we should not glorify war and the weapons of war, that the consequence of war is injury, death and destruction."

Tinker and Graham were originally charged with "interfering with a parade." When it was discovered that evidently there is no law against "interfering with a parade" the charges were changed to "disorderly conduct in the second degree," which includes "recklessly creating a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance and alarm by obstructing vehicular traffic on a public way." They are also charged with "interfering with a peace officer."

"A parade is not traffic," says Tinker. "A parade is a form of entertainment and it is wrong to include a tank in the streets of Portland, especially while our country is engaged in a war in which thousands of soldiers and civilians have died."

According to a video of the protest, the two Grannies were in the street a total of not more than 20 seconds before they were forcibly removed and arrested. "We hardly had time to make a statement," said Graham, "much less to block traffic. Everyone who has ever watched the Rose Festival Parade knows that it often stops for minutes at a time. Just think of all the money and lives that would be saved if the war stopped for just 20 seconds."

Tinker and Graham are represented by Stu Sugarman and Thaddeus Betz, members of the National Lawyers Guild who are dedicated to maintaining the right of U.S. citizens to dissent publicly.

Source: The Seriously Pissed Off Grannies




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Vic June 12, 2008 6:16 pm (Pacific time)

Appreciate your take on this, S. Burns. I cant speak for them, but I believe the grannies were protesting militarism as entertainment..in this case, part of a parade. I dont think the era of the tank matters. This was not a Veterans Day parade, or I would feel the same way you do about their actions. I still do not know which "others" have or ever have had in the last 100 years ,the manpower, the will and the weaponry to invade and subjugate America. Freedom IS free...it is fear that keeps us in debt and churning out more weapons than every other nation of the earth combined. What are we so damn scared of? If all this military might and all these nukes and WMDs still dont make us safe, maybe the bully approach to foreign policy needs to be reconsidered. Funny how the nation with the most weapons is the most paranoid.


S.Burns June 12, 2008 11:24 am (Pacific time)

Vic, You are missing the point. The grannies were protesting a WWII tank. Was it a GERMAN tank in the parade? No. Do you really think that with no military presence in this country, we would somehow retain immunity invasion? The constitution and bill of rights are just paper to anyone else but us. It only guarantees our rights to OURSELVES. It is a strong militiary presence that guarantees our freedom from OTHERS.


Vic June 10, 2008 8:22 am (Pacific time)

S. Burns...I have also seen pictures of Polish citizens smiling and waving flags while columns of Nazi tanks rolled into their country...so I guess that is cool with you too, right ? Face it people, we are a nation of war and aggression. We really have nothing else. We are so far in debt that we cannot even begin to touch the INTEREST on our national debt. The dollar is falling like a drunken sailor on a frozen pond, and we are pretty much despised by the civilized world. Two years ago my daughter got a scholarship to study at Southhampton University in Britain. The school advised American students not to flaunt their nationality and even hinted that it might be a good idea to just say you are Canadian! One of the signs of a fascist country is a constant display of military might and flags and myopic "patriotism". People seem to often confuse patriotism with mindless warmongering and racism. Curmudgeon, could you tell me what war it was where our freedoms wewre under attack and the military saved us??? When were we invaded? When was this war that all you kill-em-all types refer to? Guess what, IT NEVER HAPPENED!! The real enemy of the American people is the parasitic military/industrial complex which now sucks nearly half our budget down the rathole. We spend 25 times more on weapons than our nearest rival, China. We are being ripped off, plain and simple. So when you see crumbling schools, infrastructure that is not maintained, and see our national debt skyrocketing while the dollar is losing value daily.....thank the military!! When you look around and see that we are the only industrialized nation with no health care system for its citizens, thank the military. And when the rest of the world finally has enough of our bullying and threats and cuts ties and trade with us, thank the military. I should add that I am not blaming the soldiers..they do not make policy.


S. Burns June 9, 2008 4:58 pm (Pacific time)

I'm Guessing these grannies aren't German Jews. Or Historians for that matter. Have they never seen photos of smiling liberated Europeans and Jews riding on tanks with the American or British soldiers?


Curmudgeon June 9, 2008 10:48 am (Pacific time)

These "grannies" are a disgrace to the community. What they did is a slap in the face to every veteran who has ever fought for their freedoms. They claim that "the consequence of war is injury, death and destruction." The consequence of war is also the freedoms they enjoy. What they don't seem to understand is that their right to freedom of speech does not trump others' right to peaceably assemble, which would include having a parade with a tank. Their attitude is arrogant and condescending to all veterans. Their basic stand is that their beliefs trump my rights.

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