The AP is reporting three incidents Tuesday involving anti-abortion protesters raising cain — one event resulting in arrests outside the Pepsi Center, a picket of an Emily’s List event and another where Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies responded to heat-stressed individuals on a mountain mesa west of Denver after they unfurled a 666-foot banner on the hillside (um, no religious symbolism there).
Notorious Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, who split with the organization and now leads a loose cluster of rabble-rousers, predicted they would be arrested for staging a planned, but illegal, sit-in during the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week.
And true to form, Terry and 12 followers were arrested by 50 officers in riot gear outside the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver for blocking an entrance after being warned three times to disperse. As he was led away to a paddy wagon, a handcuffed Terry shouted “Don’t vote for Obama” at DNC delegates and members of the press entering the convention hall.
California blogger Dave Winer documented the stand-off at Scripting.com.
Last weekend, Terry distributed hundreds of racist fliers at a DNC media party touting a fictitious “Candidate Smith,” proposing “real solutions for the ‘Negro problem’” as a shocking metaphor for Christian voters who support pro-choice but otherwise conservative political candidates.
The Colorado Independent reported a schism that has developed between Terry and Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue West, a group that arose from Terry’s original group and that also engages in inflammatory picketing of women’s clinics.
Simultaneous to the sit-in, another dozen anti-abortion demonstrators rallied outside the Sheraton Hotel in Denver, where Emily’s List was holding an event featuring Sen. Hillary Clinton and others to back women candidates who support reproductive freedom.
Earlier Tuesday, supporters of American Right to Life Action unfurled a enormous banner that read “Destroys uNborn Children” — highlighting the DNC in the phrase — on a nearby hillside that the group claimed was visible in Denver, 10 miles away.
The banner, made of approximately 2,400 queen-sized bedsheets, remained on the mesa for three hours until Jefferson County law enforcement officials ordered its removal. While several members of the group scrambled back up the hillside to take down the sign, police tended to others who reportedly suffered heat exhaustion carrying the 2,700-pound banner.
American RTL was established in Denver in Nov. 2007 to aggressively usurp the national status of National Right to Life as the primary leader within the anti-abortion movement.
One of its primary thrusts is to challenge the “wicked courts” and oppose “child-killing regulations” through state-based laws attempting to overturn Roe v Wade, according to its Web site. The group is actively involved in Amendment 48, a proposed constitutional measure on the November ballot in Colorado to proffer due process rights on fertilized human eggs.