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Two Arrested at Bush Protest
by Quinten Sunday, Mar. 13, 2005 at 6:13 PM (email address validated)

Two Pittsburgh residents were arrested last Monday during a protest against a visit by President George W. Bush. The president visited a local family support center and spoke briefly at the Community College of Allegheny County's North Side branch. He was in town in part to present an award for volunteerism to Jennie Roth, a junior at La Roche college.

Two Pittsburgh residents were arrested last Monday during a protest against a visit by President George W. Bush. The president visited a local family support center and spoke briefly at the Community College of Allegheny County's North Side branch. He was in town in part to present an award for volunteerism to Jennie Roth, a junior at La Roche college.

Only a select crowd was allowed in to the auditorium to listen to Bush speak, but students and community members came out in small numbers to voice their objections to Bush policies. As has become a pattern at Bush rallies and speeches, while supporters were allowed to get close to the President, protestors were kept as far away as possible in a so-called "free speech" zone.

Father Jack O'Malley of Highland Park and Molly Rush of Dormont, PA both decided that they weren't going to wait for the president in the designated protest area, which was far from the location where the President was going to speak and out of sight of his motorcade route. Instead they stood across the street from the gym where he was going to speak.

Soon after Rush and O'Malley had settled in to wait, Molly Rush told Rustbelt, several police officers asked them to move. Father O'Malley and Molly Rush posed a security threat, the officers said. Father O'Malley told the officers that neither he nor Molly was a security risk, and the officers were free to frisk them if they wanted. They didn't want to move because they wouldn't be able to see the president if they moved any further.

The officers replied that they didn't want to arrest them, but asked them to move again. Rush said "who said anything about getting arrested?" Molly Rush told Rustbelt that the officers seemed sincere in their desire not to arrest who she described as a little old lady and a Catholic priest, and were practically begging them to move. Rush and O'Malley looked at each other and agreed between the two of them, however, that they weren't going to give up their right to protest the president from a spot that he could see.

Both Father O'Malley and Rush were arrested and charged with defiant trespass. The two spent 13 hours in a holding cell before appearing before a magistrate and were released early Tuesday morning, at approximately 3:30 AM.

O'Malley and Rush are not the only Pittsburgh residents who have run afoul of exercising their free speech rights outside of a so-called free speech zone. In 2002, 65 year old Bill Neel was arrested at a Bush appearance on Labor Day at Neville Island in Pittsburgh. He was later acquitted of all charges. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is currently suing the Secret Service and the Federal Government for their practices at Bush rallies and speeches.

Molly told Rustbelt that she was at Neville Island when Neel was arrested, but she had stayed inside the free speech zone. She told herself that she never wanted to let herself be coralled that way again. Father O'Malley and Molly Rush will be in court again this Wednesday at 8 AM.

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by WinetoWater Monday, Mar. 21, 2005 at 12:57 AM

We need more bravery like this. A protest of 3000 people, where no one is getting arrested is not a protest.

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by noone noname Saturday, Mar. 26, 2005 at 4:49 AM

Is it really that difficult to be respectful. Is it really that difficult to follow the rules. Father O'Malley and that sweet little old lady went there to confront the police, knowing of the consequences, were given every opportunity to avoid arrest, but chose to be arrested. It is not just defiant trespass, but it is reckless disregard for the law. It is not different than choosing to run redlights, or choosing to park in the Fire Lane, or choosing to violate any other law.

They got what they wanted. They wanted to get arrested so they could look like heros to the protest crowd. They got that. Now they can sit in jail pay their fines and everything else without everyone screaming police brutality or violation of rights.

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Very Brave
by Jbake Thursday, Apr. 07, 2005 at 12:35 PM

While some may feel these two courageous people may simply be law breakers, I call them freedom fighters. Yes, they broke the law, but we must ask, is the law just? Free speech zones are simply a devious and PC way to erode the first amendment. An unjust, unconstitutional law is no law at all. Such laws should be challenged and broken. These individuals should be heroes and role models for all of us.

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Yes, indeed
by jsautee Thursday, Apr. 07, 2005 at 2:29 PM

THey broke the law. They go to jail. Free speech zones are constitutional and a good idea. Indeed, we shoudl ask is the law just. So all of those people who think it is fine to fondle young boys because it demonstrates a higher love (a la Mike Jackson) are also freedom fighters to you.

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where do you come from
by free speech Sunday, May. 15, 2005 at 11:14 AM

there is a free speach zone and it is the entire usa. you are an ignorant asshole to attack two people who realize the truth of the constitution and are willing to defend it.

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Ignorant Asshole
by Ignorant Asshole Monday, May. 16, 2005 at 11:41 AM

From one ignorant asshole to another.... They should go to jail.. They knew what the law was. They chose to break it. There are 'no smoklng' zones everywhere that interfere with my right to smoke. If I smoke there, I get fined or arrested. Freedome of expression says that I can sing Opera wherever I want, but I know I can't do it in a Hospital zone. There are no laws against walking down the sidewalk, but if I do it all day long acros the same 3 feet of sidewalk in front of the Thomas Merton Center i would likely be arrested for interferring with TMC's business. I have a Constitutional right to freedom of travel, but I won't get too far if I insist on doing thisat 100 miles an hour on the Ohio Turnpike. I have a Constitutional right to practice my faith, but if I try to do this in my high school cafeteria at lunch time I will probably be made to stop or get expelled. I have a Constitutional right to free speech, but I can't use certain words or phrasing in doing so or I might be convicted of a crime (e.g. N-----, K---, F-----, etc.).

It is no different. They broke the law. They are not victims of any conspiracy or governmetn oppression. They are criminals. Do the time, you did the crime. You really look bad when you start whining and complaining at this point. There is no shortage of (legal) methods and venues for them to "speak truth" as you call it. But hey, they wanted to get arrested because they (wrongly) felt that this would somehow hieghten the profile of their message and for some inexplicable reason win people over to their cause (rather than make people think that they are just law breaking rabble-rousers who can not find a more articulate method of winning their case).

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they're idiots
by truthteller Monday, May. 16, 2005 at 12:17 PM

They'll forever have a police record, and all their lice herder friends will forget they even existed, having moved on to the next Fad Protest of the Day as dictated by the Leftist fax machine (or some Michael Moore wammabe farting into the bullhorn).

Regressives are so fucking stupid.

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