US court tosses anti-abortion protester’s 2007 arrest at Liberty Bell, cites free speechBy Maryclaire Dale, AP
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
US court tosses protester’s arrest at Liberty Bell
PHILADELPHIA — A U.S. appeals court says an anti-abortion protester had a First Amendment right to demonstrate near tourists at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
The decision overturns lower-court rulings that upheld the 2007 arrest of Christian evangelical Michael Marcavage (mahr-KAH’-vidj), of Lansdowne.
Marcavage had been sentenced to a year’s probation for refusing a National Park Service order to move to a nearby demonstration area on Independence Mall.
The appeals court is tossing the charges on procedural and free-speech grounds. The court says he caused no more of a disturbance than a cancer-survivors group or horse-drawn carriages that line up nearby.
Marcavage’s group, Repent America, opposes abortion and stages protests at gay-pride events.
Tags: North America, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Protests And Demonstrations, United States