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Oregon Guard Soldier Joins Capitol War Protest (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
An Oregon Guard soldier joins the 24-hour vigil protesting a deployment to Iraq in 2009.
(SALEM, Ore.) - An Oregon woman protesting a national guard deployment to the Iraq War was arrested Friday night by Oregon state troopers. Political activist Michele Darr of Corvallis is no stranger to capitol demonstrations; she spent months outside the capitol in protest of the Iraq War in 2003.
Advocates taking part in the vigil and fast say Michele Darr's Civil Rights were violated when she was arrested, and Saturday the list of advocates on the capitol steps grew to include an Oregon soldier who is part of the scheduled deployment.
"They showed us their building policy that indicates that between the hours of 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM, the building is closed to the public," Darr said.
But an assembling group of attorneys like former Salem Mayor Mike Swaim and Elizabeth Baker, say the state law flies in the face of civil rights granted by federal law.
News of the arrest prompted Richard Portelli, a soldier in the Oregon Guard, to join Darr's cause.
"Everything I've heard from other soldiers who have been over there is that it's a really terrible thing, and they have stretches of road they patrol where there are bombs, and they are patrolling them because there are bombs there and the bombs are there because we're patrolling them; it all seems very weird to me." Portelli said.
Attorneys say the state law that allow police to arrest Darr conflicts with federal laws that grant the public, rights to access public property.
Darr believes the Governor could take steps to keep the soldiers in Oregon. Legislation has also been drafted that could keep the troops home, but at this point Darr has been told there will be no word on that until January at the earliest.
"They are already preparing the early members of the deployment, and all of these families are waiting to find out what will happen, all of this just before the holiday season," Darr said.
Michele Darr's dedication to what she is doing seems immense, and she says Oregon's soldiers deserve better in her opiniom, than to be sent on another yearlong deployment to Iraq. She says people like Private Richard Portelli are stepping forward to join her, and she hopes Oregon's elected officials are listening.
WATCH THE VIDEO REPORT BELOW:
Produced by Tim King
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