The Tea Party News Network reported yesterday that two protesters in St. Charles, Missouri, were arrested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol for refusing to vacate a public overpass when ordered to do so without any reason or demonstrable cause.
One of the two men arrested, Duane Weed, spoke with The Tea Party News Network about his protest and his arrest.
The group had assembled on the morning of Saturday, August 17th, to create awareness of the discontent felt by many Americans for the Obama Administration and the continuous string of scandals perpetrated by the executive branch.
“We felt that there were plenty of impeachable offenses and if any other president in the history of our country had committed even one of these [offenses], they would have been impeached,” Weed stated.
“We had done this before. We had done the same thing a few weeks back. I had seen videos on YouTube from various other places around the country where law enforcement has shown up to a protest and a lot of times run them off… In our particular case, we made an issue of it and said, ‘no, this is our First Amendment right.’ I questioned the highway patrolman, ‘What are the charges,’ you know, ‘What is your reasoning?’ And he couldn’t come up with any reason other than he kept saying ‘we’re requesting that you vacate the bridge.”
The highway patrol refused to cite any specific authority or statute that allowed them the right to break up the protest. Finally, after issuing several demands for the protesters to disperse, the highway patrol officers took Weed and another man, Mark M., into custody, claiming they were disobeying orders fro a police officer and resisting arrest.
The officers claimed that the protesters were causing accidents, however, Weed explained that St. Charles was having a big festival that weekend with the standard increase in traffic that is normal for such an event.
“The traffic was horrendous,” Weed noted. “But I’ve seen situations like that where they station one police officer down the road with their lights on to warn people to slow down, and they could have done that with one officer. Instead, they brought eight [cars] to come up on the bridge. As far as accidents were concerned, I was the first person to arrive there as far as protesters were concerned as when I arrived there, there was already an accident that had just occurred and we certainly couldn’t have been responsible for that accident because we weren’t there!”
After being confronted by the officers, Weed and others offered to move the protest to a different side of the street where there had been no accidents. “He wouldn’t accept that. They had come up there with eight cars and a huge show of force with the clear intention that they were going to clear this overpass.”
Weed and his fellow protester were booked and housed in the county jail overnight. Weed claimed they were treated professionally, but that the whole experience was uncomfortable. After 24 hours, the police let the protesters go without any charges having been officially filed.
The right to peaceably assemble is one of the most important rights for Americans. Protests alert the government and the citizens that something is wrong and the silence of peaceful protests by police or government agencies is a serious threat to our republic.
Weed is not giving up, though. In an interview with TPNN’s Tim Constantine on Monday, the passionate patriot proudly announced that his group will be returning to the overpass to protest the Obama Administration.
“As a form of protest against what happened to us, on Saturday, we are going out to the same location- the overpass in front of the St. Charles convention center- this time we should have a lot more people because we have a lot more people supporting our cause. We might have a problem this time because we might have so many people on that overpass… We plan on doing the same thing this Saturday to let them know that we are not backing down; we have rights here.”
A request for comment from the Missouri State Highway Patrol was not returned.