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SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

Protesters have abandoned the Branciforte overpass, surrendering their 1st Amendment right to CHP and Caltrans.
In a sad move sure to have a chilling effect on free speech in Santa Cruz, anti-war activists have retreated from the highway 1 Branciforte overpass, taking their message with them and abandoning their free speech rights.. and some would say, abandoning Iraq.

While bombs continue to explode in occupied Iraq killing innocent women and children, peace protesters in Santa Cruz backed down from their cause and knuckled-under to the threat of jaywalking tickets and other petty harrassment by CHP goons acting in clear support for the war against Iraq.

Officers have cleared the bridge of anti-war protesters, using the transparent new excuse of "directing traffic".

Protesters, rather than stand their ground and stand with their cause and with the people of Iraq, have chosen instead to cooperate with police and take their protest back to the previous, less effective, but government-approved location.

Without any citations being issued, this latest misapplication of law is unlikely to be tested and beaten in court, leaving the police as the victors by default, and the cause of peace less heard.

*ALERT - NEW LOCATION INFO - FRIDAY PEACE VIGIL!

From: Sherry Conable

Dear friends and comrades!

There has been some difficulty with the CHP and CalTrans at the overpass on Branciforte Avenue where we wanted to have our Friday Peace Vigil - it is a long story, still in process, including trying to get some help and opinions from attorneys.

Women in Black and many others will be returning to the corner of Ocean and Water Streets from 5-6 PM starting this Friday, March 4th, for the Vigil.

Folks who choose to go to the Branciforte overpass, or any other overpass above the freeway, to display signs should be aware that: you may be contacted by the CHP - they might confiscate any signs or banners on display, issue tickets, or arrest folks.

What is actually legal is unclear and we are still trying to sort it out!

Please make your own best decision, and join us in one location or the other - the majority of folks will most likely be at Ocean and Water!

peace, now and forever!

*the Friday Vigil is currently being co-sponsored by Women in Black, the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, and Code Pink Santa Cruz
 
 


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Comments

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

For now it looks like the protest has retreated to Ocean and Water. But I'm confident that we may return to Branciforte overpass at some time in the near future. Part of the issue is that we do not have clear legal opinions from the attorneys involved and the other issue is that we simply need to rethink and regroup. At least one of the Women In Black can not afford to get arrested as she is a teacher.

The rest of this thread may be found at:

santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display/16077/index.php
 

Some Will Be at the Overpass With Signs on Friday

I spoke with some students from the UCSC anti-war forum held tonight (tomorrow night is an anti-war teach in on campus as well). I'll be at the overpass on Friday evening with a suitable sign. I believe this issue was resolved several years ago by Cassandra Brown and Amy Courtney. I don't think it's wise to let the CHP drive anti-war protest out of sight here, though we'll have to see what developes.

Bring signs, cameras, etc. You don't have to get arrested to witness what goes down.
 

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

here is a snip of an email i got forwarded to me

"We even had a potentially threatening visit from the Santa Cruz Police and the CHP, but after about a half hour of consultation and our unwavering tenacity, they agreed that we WERE exercising our first amendment rights in a lawful manner!! "Being here is your first amendment right. Enjoy it to the fullest", said Sergeant Warren Barry with a big, beaming smile as he drove away."

this email is talking about the 2/19/05 peace demo
 

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

That's funny. My memory of Sgt. Warren Barry's departure on 2/19 was him saying, "your sniffing for something that's not there, Mr. Lombardo." Apparantly there was after all.
 

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

I thought it was only illegal to HANG and LEAVE a banner above the freeway on the chain link fence, supposedly for safety reasons, in case wind blows it in into traffic etc.

I dont see how the cops can legally force the demonstrators to leave as long as they are HOLDING the banners and signs.

Bullies are cowards. Cowards dress alike and use force to intimidate people with less physical and/or legal power. This includes soldiers, cops and gang members.
 

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

Comprehensive thread on this issue is at the link below, including discussion of legalities:

santacruz.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/16077/index.php
 

Conversations with CHPsters

I contacted the California Highway Patrol yesterday to get their direction on what was legal and what wasn't on the overpasses.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon I spoke with an Officer Ceballos. Ceballos got quite defensive with me when I asked for the spelling of his name and repeatedly asked me where I was calling from when.

Ceballos told me that it was illegal to afix signs to the freeway but that if you held signs up it was okay.

To get confirmation, I asked to speak to Captain Manriquez. I was told the Captain was out.

I then asked to speak to Lt. Jordan. I was told he was out to lunch.

I then asked to speak to any of the sergeants. None were available.

I left a message for Lt. Jordan that I was seeking guidelines on what was legal and what was not: re overpass signholding, leaving my phone number. His secretary said he'd return the call within the hour. I have not yet received a return call (10:15 a.m. Friday)

Update: This morning I contacted CHP Officer Michael Wright, apparently a Public Relations officer for the Bay Area for the CHP. (For anyone interested, his phone is 707-648-4180 X276).

Wright told me that under VC 2410, upheld in a Third District Court of Appeals ruling Jan 23, 2003, it is permissible for the CHP to place restrictions on free speech to permit free flow of traffic.

CHP, he noted, will not allow anything to be affixed to a freeway, whether "pro-American" (as he put it) or not, and will order people holding signs to leave, if they determine there is a traffic impediment.

However, both CHP officers seem to indicate you can picket until a CHP officer decides you are affecting traffic. Wright didn't have the details of the case upholding the CHP authority, nor its specifics. Perhaps it involved someone doing something outrageous. (Wright also noted that the sign issue "usually" came up in Berkeley and that "obscene" or "vulgar" signs would be banned.)

For further local information, the local CHP office is 662-0512. Anyone calling might want to ask what Vehicle Code section believes we would be violating. If anyone wants to bother to drive down to CHP HQ--which I think is just south of Aptos, another activist suggested: take a look at their written policy (which apparently is a separate document from the code).

So, bottom line: you're legal until they tell you you're illegal. Then you decide what to do.

See you on the Morrissey/Branciforte overpass at 5 PM.
 

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

I'm confused. Does CHP have jurisdiction on ANY road, anywhere, including city streets? Does CHP have jurisdiction in this situation, simply because its an overpass of the state, Highway 1 corridor? What about SCPD Cops? Is this piece of the road something they have no jurisdiction over?
 

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

For what it is worth, 8 of the protestors (some new faces too) returned to the Branciforte overpass on Friday March 4, 2005. Some more protestors, including Women in Black, were at the intersection of Ocean and Water, from 5-6PM. No CHP or any other law enforcement showed up to bother us at the Branciforte location. It was rumored that the CHP was having a special enforcement day and hence were busy elsewhere. Traffic on hwy 1 was fairly light and fast in both directions, leaving less opportunity than usual for sign holders to have an impact. We will see what happens next week.
 

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

No rumor, it's true...

Officers to patrol Highway 1 en masse

www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2005/March/04/local/stories/10local.htm

[Friday, March 4]

The California Highway Patrol will have extra officers on Highway 1 today in a detail aimed at catching drivers who speed or commit other dangerous violations, CHP officer Kim Bonfilio said. Officers will be looking for tailgaters and those not wearing seat belts, she said.

Officers from the Monterey area will join the effort, she said.
 

reply to Utopia Bold

"Bullies are cowards. Cowards dress alike and use force to intimidate people with less physical and/or legal power. This includes soldiers, cops and gang members."

Liberals dress alike to. It's often easy to pick them out by their clothing, hair, and jewelry.

Liberals are also a gang. Where the cops stand behind their Blue Wall of blind loyalty to one another, liberals often stand behind their Green Wall of blind loyalty.

Liberals also use force to intimidate people with less physical or legal power, all the time. The force they use is police force, directed through bad laws written by bad politicians elected by liberals.

I fail to see a qualitative difference. Only the power structure is different; the abuse of power is the same.
 

Re: SC Peace Protesters Retreat from Overpass; CHP Wins, 1st Amendment Abandoned

Bolder, please define "liberal." Are they merely people in opposition to you?

Also, you fail to prove your point about force. You are first talking about "liberals" and then attempt to correlate them to police force. You insinuate that they are somehow working in a connected, conspiratorial manner; this is far-fetched and unrealistic.
 

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