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Monday, March 20, 2006
No Right to Peaceably Assemble a Pyramid While Wearing Thongs?
Did you hear about this cheeky bunch of protestors? I hadn't until hearing on TV today about a largely overlooked legal decision this month in Philadelphia. Seems back in July 2004, the "Smoketown Six" decided to send some sort of message to President Bush as his motorcade passed through Lancaster County. How? By re-enacting an image of a pile of prisoners from Iraq's now-infamous Abu Ghraib prison. (A dectractor might say they made asses of themselves, as the primly cropped picture at left suggests. But they clearly had their supporters, who cheered as this crack team's stunt was captured on camera and video.) The protestors were quickly arrested, held for two hours -- until after Bush was past -- and charged with disorderly conduct. That December, the ACLU filed suit, charging that federal agents, East Lampeter police and state troopers violated the men's constitutional rights. "At no point did the men treat the demonstration as a joke or disruptive event," said the ACLU's report. But earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond ruled against the protestors, citing lewdness, flimsily covered genitalia, and nearby children, according to "Seven Thongs Don't Make a Right" at law.com. (Gotta be careful how you bare your grievances.) An appeal is expected.