The activists arrested as a group of 150 people participated in a Tax Day protest on April 15 in East Hampton held a press conference Monday, April 24 on the East Hampton Green.
The five were arrested as they carried signs on the sidewalk of East Hampton's busy
Main Street. Some of the signs, confiscated by police as evidence, were memorial panels created by North Fork People of Conscience showing photos of US soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
East Hampton Village Police said protesters were obstructing pedestrian traffic.
The activists called the press conference because they say local media had not allowed them to express their viewpoint.
Kathy Engel of Sagaponack was one of those arrested.
She said "Five of us were arrested and handcuffed for walking with signs about the war and images of soldiers who've been killed. Walking, barely. Not marching, not shouting, not blocking traffic or people's ability to move on the sidewalk and shop. ...."
"... Rights are like muscles. Unless we exercise them they atrophy. We are engaged in an ongoing exercise of our rights to speak and walk and express ourselves.
We are here to figure much more powerful ways to stop this war and occupation and to lift up the blanket of intimidation this administration has dropped on our country, that has filtered to every small village.
We are here to exercise democracy."
Dan Steiger of Sag Harbor, another arrestee, said
" the first amendment guarantees -- it doesn't give you permission to - it guarantees your right to peaceable assembly and to address your government about grievances .. it guarantees that right, It doesn't say if you get permission you can .. it says the people of America have the right to do that"
A May 4 court date has been set when photos of dead US soldiers are expected to be
introduced as evidence.
From a report prepared by WPKM/WPKN East End Long Island News Team
Broadcast April 25 on WPKN local news (6:30 pm Mon-Friday - WPKM Montauk 88.7
WPKN Bridgeport 89.5 and wpkn(dot)org