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Six arrested in St. Louis protest

  As part of a series of activities marking the second execution of Ken
  Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni martyrs, the ST. Louis Support Committee
  for MOSOP demonstrated at a Shell station on Saturday, Nov. 8th from noon
  - 2 pm. The protest was at a Shell station where three activists had been
  arrested last year in October. After that arrest, the ACLU agreed to
  represent the activists, the charges were dropped, an an agreement
  negotiated with the lawyer for the police department that protesters were
  allowed to leaflet in traffic during a red light and would move to the
  sidewalk when the light changed so as not to impede traffic or endanger
  Shortly after protesters arrived at the Shell station this past Saturday,
  they were met by the same police officers who arrested them a year before.
  THe police warned the activists not to go out in the streets or they would
  be arrested for "soliciting." Activists argued that they were not
  soliciting but passing out information. When negotiations between the
  activists and the police went nowhere, the ACLU lawyer was called. He
  pointed out that at the next major intersection, there were people who
  were actually soliciting out in the street, collecting money for a church
  organization, and they weren't being arrested. Our group was NOT
  soliciting and was being harrassed. He also pointed out that the mayor of
  St. Louis, who was the former chief of police, was seen recently
  participating in the Old Newsboys Day, when people pass out papers in the
  middle of intersections once a year.
  The police were unconvinced, so, with a lawyer, photographer, and reporter
  present, several activists decided to exercise their first amendment
  right. They moved into the intersection and handed out leaflets during the
  red light. Six were arrested and brought to jail where they were charged
  with soliciting. They posted $100 bonds each and were released with a Dec.
  15 court date. The lawyer advises that the charges will most likely be
  dropped and there will be an excellent case to sue the police department.
  Sitting in a cold cell, though only for a few hours and in the best of
  circumstances, the activists had a chance to reflect on the reasons for
  the protest in the first place. As they sat in a St. Louis cell, 20 Ogoni
  environmentalists were sitting in a Port Harcourt jail, undergoing
  torture, being denied medical treatment, awaiting a trial they know will
  be unfair, awaiting--possibly--their own execution. Four thousand
  political prisoners languish in Nigerian jails, former government
  officials, union leaders, journalists, human rights activists, writers,
  leaders, activists.
  The struggle continues!
  For more information, contact Mira Tanna, (314) 862-5773.