Protesters forced off property

Daily Herald, Illinois/August 7, 2007
By Jake Griffin

Naperville police were called Monday to have two men protesting outside the downtown Naperville post office removed from the property.

Police said a postal employee requested assistance. The two men removed a table and signs from a paved area in front of the post office at 5 S. Washington St. but continued to pass out pamphlets to pedestrians and motorists.

"We were called by the post office to ask people who were on federal property to leave, and we did," Cmdr. Dave Hoffman said.

Naperville postal officials cited policies against allowing protests on post office property but would not elaborate on what those policies are.

"Because places like a post office are non-public forums, traditionally speech can be limited in those places," said Susanna Stone, a community lawyer at the Elmhurst-based Citizens Advocacy Center. "They should have written rules, though, it just can't be arbitrary when they don't allow protests."

Robert Lucero and Tony DeFranco work with the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee and were displaying anti-government signs that called President Bush "dumb" and called for Vice President Dick Cheney's impeachment.

The LaRouche group is a pro-labor movement that has tried to align itself with the Democratic Party for decades but is routinely shunned by party leaders.

Lucero said he and DeFranco moved the signs and other materials because he was not sure of city codes.

"They told use we could physically be here but couldn't have anything on the sidewalk or on the tiles in front of the post office," he said. "For now we have to go along with this, but we'll come back in the near future."

Lucero said he contacted both the police department and post office before setting up Monday and was not warned he was doing anything wrong.

"We just want an opportunity to talk to people," Lucero said.

Stone said it was "troubling" to see another set of anti-Bush protesters targeted by authorities. In May, Sarah Hartfield and Jeff Zurawski were cited by the DuPage County sheriff's office for displaying an anti-Bush banner across a bridge over Interstate 355 near Glen Ellyn.

"The fact that this is the second incident involving Bush/Cheney protesters is somewhat troubling," she said.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.