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Call-in In Support of Minneapolis Fur Protesters

Date: 23 March 2010 20:14:48 GMT
Subject: March 29; Drop the charges!: Call-in In Support Of Minneapolis Fur Protesters

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March 29; Drop the charges!: Call-in In Support Of Minneapolis Fur Protesters

As fur protesters and avid animal lovers Isaac Peter and Michael Lawson
stood chanting anti-fur slogans on the sidewalk outside of Ribnick's Furs
in downtown Minneapolis on March 2, neither expected to be spending their
evening undergoing booking at the Hennepin County jail.

They had been protesting in the same location, using the same chants for
over 5 months --why would March 2 be any different? Officers (including
sargents) had often assuring them "You can chant as much as you want,
scream to the top of your lungs for all I care, just don't block the

But (date of arrest) took a turn for the worst; when two Minneapolis
police officers who Peter and Lawson had never seen before arrived on the
scene, entering into the storefront without attempting to engage in
dialogue with either protester.

After speaking with owner Bill Ribnick, they exited, informing both
protesters they were being charged with disorderly conduct for being "too

Both protesters attempted to tell the officers of the circumstances, and
that previous officers had given them assurance that they were acting
within their rights.

The male officer's response was immediately that he "wasn't interested".

Peter and Lawson were taken to the Hennepin County jail until bail was

When it came time for their arraignment, it became clear that this was not
an ordinary "disorderly conduct" charge. Bill Ribnick, owner of Ribnick's
Furs – who was not even a party to this case -- was in attendance with a
very expensive and affluent attorney by his side, talking with a city
prosecutor, as she hugged him and gave him her condolences.

In a disgusting attempt to curb free speech, and a shocking example of a
prosecution pandering to the interests of a wealthy businessman – the
city offered to drop the charges in exchange that Isaac and Michael not be
allowed to exercise their right to protest at Ribnick's Furs for a year.

Both Isaac Peter and Michael Lawson refused the deal, citing outrage at
the back-room bribery that had taken place and a undeterred dedication to
the mink, fox, chinchilla, and other animals killed for fur .

Defendant Michael Lawson released this statement after the arraignment;

"If Ribnick thinks he's the only person that can pressure the prosecutor;
he's wrong.

We may not have the money or political connections that Bill Ribnick has,
but we have a broader network of people committed to free speech and
compassion towards animals than he could ever hope to have. The voice of
the people will always beat back-room scheming"

Peter and Lawson can't beat Ribnick in money, but they intend to beat him
in community support.

That's why we need compassionate folks to call prosecutor Susan Segal and
tell her that scheming with Ribnick Furs and other businesses to
criminalize legally-protected boycott and protest is unacceptable"

They are now asking people to call the city prosecutors office and tell
them to "Drop the Charges against Isaac Peter and Michael Lawson"

Call-in for Isaac and Michael

When? Monday March 29th, all day

Who? Susan Segal, city attorney 612-673-3272

What? Demand she drop the the charges against Isaac Peter and Michael
Lawson and tell her that we won't standby while our rights to free speech
and peaceful protest is being thrown out the window. Please keep calls
polite but insistent.

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