Iraq war protesters will put their star, Cindy Sheehan, on the witness stand today in hopes of diverting a McLennan County jury’s attention toward an ordinance they say is unconstitutional.
Problem is, the violation of the ordinance is not the reason for the trial.
Cindy Sheehan (center) supports Iraq war protesters Hiram Myers (left) and Em Hardy on Tuesday. Myers and Hardy were arrested, along with 14 others, on April 14 and charged with failing to obey an order to prevent obstruction of a street.
Hiram Myers, an Oklahoma lawyer, and Em Hardy, an Austin psychologist, were two of 14 protesters arrested April 14 and charged with “failing to obey an order to prevent obstruction of a street,” Assistant District Attorney Melanie Walker said.
Court testimony Tuesday from McLennan County sheriff’s deputies revealed the protesters didn’t obstruct Prairie Chapel Road and Morgan Road near the president’s ranch but were in tents in bar ditches along the roadway, which is considered part of the street.
The deputies testified the tents were unsafe because they obstructed the vision of a person in the tent to see traffic.
David Broiles, the attorney for the defense, was at the protest. He said Tuesday that his clients intended to be arrested that day but were under the impression they would be charged with violation of the county ordinance that prohibits the erection of shelters in the right of way of county roads, an ordinance they say is unconstitutional.
Broiles said the protesters should have been charged under the ordinance.
“The (district attorney) is trying to stretch the law,” Broiles said. “He’s trying to stop the protesters from protesting, which violates our constitutional right.”
Copyright © 2006 Waco Tribune-Herald