"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Friday, October 15, 2004
Police in riot gear fired paintballs filled with cayenne pepper Thursday night to disperse a crowd of protesters assembled in this historic gold mining town where President Bush was spending the night after a campaign appearance.
Witnesses said Bush supporters were on one side of California Street chanting "Four more years," and supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry were on the other chanting "Three more weeks." Police began moving the crowd away from the Jacksonville Inn, where the president was to arrive for a dinner and to spend the night following his speech.
"We were here to protest Bush and show our support for Kerry," said Cerridewen Bunten, 24, a college student and retail clerk from Ashland. "Nobody was being violent. We were out of the streets so cars could go by. We were being loud, but I never knew that was against the law."
Bunten said she was pushed by police as she held her 6-year-old daughter....
Jacksonville City Administrator Paul Wyntergreen said the protest was peaceful until a few people started pushing police. Police reacted by firing pepperballs, which he described as projectiles like a paintball filled with cayenne pepper. Two people were arrested for failing to disperse. There were no reports of injuries.
Richard Swaney, 65, of Central Point, said had joined in a peaceful protest outside the Jackson County fairgrounds where Bush spoke, and then went to Jacksonville to join the protest there.
He said he was walking with the crowd away from the inn when he was hit in the back with three separate bursts, one of which knocked him down. He felt a stinging sensation he thought was rubber bullets and smelled pepper....
Wyntergreen said no rubber bullets were fired, only pepperballs.
I just want to add that "The Pepperballs" would make an excellent band name. Or maybe "Sgt. Pepperballs." Whatever.