Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UF protesters make their point

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, defender of torture, recieved a warm reception at my alma mater of the University of Florida during his first appearance at a university since resigning from office under a big dark cloud.

The reception by Gator Nation was not friendly.

According to a story by Devin Culclasure in the Independent Florida Alligator where, in 1976, I was a general assignment reporter, protestors greeted Gonzales's canned remarks at the Philips Center for the Performing Arts:

About 15 minutes into his speech, two UF students, Richard Gutierrez and Kevin Hachey, climbed onto the stage wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods on their heads. University Police Department officers scrambled onto the stage to remove them. Matthew Cox, an employee of the Phillips Center, wrestled with one protester on the far side of stage, grabbing his legs and pulling him down. The other stood directly next to Gonzales, who calmly avoided looking in his direction. As police took the protester away, Gonzales glanced in his direction before attempting to continue his speech while he waited for the raucous crowd to settle down after a few minutes. A few more protesters climbed onto the stage. Meanwhile, even more protesters stood up, removed shirts or jackets revealing yellow T-shirts that read "SHAME," and stood with their backs toward Gonzales. They remained standing in their positions for the rest of the event.
UF cops seemed to handle this event much better than it did a few months ago when they tasered a rambunctious student during another political speech.

Steve Orlando, UF spokesman, said the usual number of four security officers was present. He added that he also thought most of the protesters expressed their views reasonably."A few crossed the line, but I think it went pretty well," Orlando said."I think Mr. Gonzales saw a whole lot of First Amendment tonight," he added with a laugh.
Gonzales remains under investigation by Congress for his questionable firing of attorneys who refused to do Dubya's bidding. One wonders if Mr. Gonzales has actually read the First Amendment -- or any other part of the Constitution of the U.S.
Read the entire Alligator article by going to
PHOTO CREDIT: (Scott Robertson /Alligator Staff) Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales pauses during his speech as a protester stands next to him at the Phillips Center on Monday night.

No comments: