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Grannies on Trial for Protesting WWII Tank in Rose FestivalSalem-News.com
"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
(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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