After the City of D.C. fined the ANSWER Coalition $20,000 (now $40,000) for putting up antiwar posters for the Sept 15 antiwar march and rally, activists held a quite legal press conference to protest these outrageous fines.
Three of them were arrested; two for putting up an antiwar poster, one for picking up a bucket of paste(!) Instead of the usual reduced sentence and fine, they instead now have a trial date of Jan 3, 2008 and face a possible six months in jail.
Ian Thompson of the ANSWER Coalition, one of the arrested, sums it up (emphasis added).
“As an attorney and anti-war activist, I am outraged that the government arrested and charged me and my co-defendants with crimes when we were simply exercising our free speech rights under the First Amendment. I am being charged with ‘assaulting a police officer’ for merely picking up a bucket of wheat paste. This prosecution is not only a waste of time, but also of taxpayer dollars. It is part of the Bush administration’s plan to criminalize dissent and curtail the constitutional rights of people who speak out against the illegal war on Iraq.”