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Silencing Danae

[San Diego CityBEAT]

Danae Kelley still isn't sure why she spent four days in jail last month. On Aug. 18, the 23-year-old joined a dozen animal-rights activists in picketing the La Jolla home of billionaire-philanthropist Ernest Rady. Rady, Kelley said, is on the board of directors of Wachovia Bank; Wachovia invests in a company called Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), and the group wanted to let Rady--and, by default, his neighbors--know that Huntingdon, which runs animal-testing labs throughout the world, does terrible things to its test subjects. The goal was to get Rady to convince Wachovia to divest itself of Huntingdon stock. Kelley said she didn't know that Rady and his wife had been the victims of a home-invasion robbery in February. If she'd known, she would have called off the protest, she said.

While tactics of some protest groups (mostly in Europe) against Huntingdon employees and investors can be extreme--slashed tires, death threats and significant intimidation--Kelley insists that no one did anything in La Jolla beyond chanting and leafleting, and they were in front of Rady's house for only 10 to 15 minutes.

"We're all pretty respectful," she said.

Picketing a residence is a misdemeanor under San Diego's municipal code, said San Diego Police Lt. Brian Ahern. But, Ahern explained, Rady would have had to file a complaint (he didn't), or the police would have had to witness the protest (they didn't).
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Compared with two years ago, Kelley's August jail stint was brief. In summer 2005, Kelley and two other activists were jailed for several weeks after they refused to testify to a grand jury about a talk given by environmentalist Rod Coronado in Hillcrest on Aug. 1, 2003. Coronado's talk happened the same day an early-morning arson fire in University City burned down a condo building that was under construction. A sign left at the site attributed the fire to the eco-saboteur movement Earth Liberation Front. Coronado, once an unofficial ELF spokesperson, was at home in Arizona when the fire happened and didn't know about it until reporters swarmed him before his talk.
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Kelley sees her arrest as part of a larger movement by law enforcement to silence activists. While she was being handcuffed, she heard Hudgins say, "We're making an example out of her."
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Write to kellyd@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com.

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