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Demonstrators "Best Not Seen or Heard" in NM will be Heard... in Court

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 By Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Contact
January 16, 2008

Albuquerque, NM – Some anti-war activists in New Mexico may have been silenced a year ago - but they're being heard loud and clear today. They say their free speech rights were violated when they were shoved out of sight last year at a Republican fund-raiser attended by President Bush, and they're taking their dissatisfaction to federal court.

Police moved a group of sign-carrying demonstrators out of sight of the President at the event, which was held at the home of Senator Pete Domenici.

Peter Simonson with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says not everyone carrying signs was moved away from the President - those carrying signs of praise were moved to the front row. He says that kind of maneuvering misleads the public.

"It launders any sort of media attention of any indication that there is opposition to what he's doing, to the policies he's promulgating."

Simonson agrees with the demonstrators, that diverse views are part of the basis of a free society.

"We anticipate that our political leaders would be courageous enough to confront the differences of opinion. That's clearly not the way it operated in this situation."

This is the third federal lawsuit across the country challenging White House policies that the ACLU says unlawfully exclude people perceived to be critical of the Administration from view at public events.



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