no subject (file transmission)

01 Jul 1993 22:54:39

For Immediate Release July 1, 1993

RE: US Fedral Government Mounts "Proactive" Campaign A
gainst the Rights of Peaceful Assemblage, Expression and Belief.

The Rainbow Family of Living Light is Gathering again in the Talladega National Forest in Alabama, the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, and other public lands. Every year for the last 22 years, on July 1-7 the Family has assembled for a week to pray for peace on earth and unity of humankind. To suit the Family's needs this year it is assembling in at least three, perhaps six, places. Also this year, the Family's church is experiencing a virtual invasion by a multi-agency task force, which combimes elements of the Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky National Guard, the Alabama State Police, Cleyborne and Calhoun County Sheriffs Offices, all coordinated by U.S. Forest Service agents. Every day this task force builds in strength and intimidation, in an unmistakable example of what Forest Service reports have labeled "proactive law enforcement."
A statement from Family members reads: "Our various campsites around the South & Northwest are one in our intent to demonstrate our right to assemblage, expression, prayer, and the other named & unnamed rights of the First Admendment.
"The various camps are experiencing a coordinated abrigement of our civil liberties such as road blocks, petty arrests over toplessness by womun and leashless dogs, abusive treatment & detainees, and identification checks which is partically chilling on all American's exercise of the First Amendment Rights.
"It would be unthinkable to check the personal ID of those people attending a Baptist Convention or a hockey game yet here in the National Forest even the US Army is poised menacingly at the doors, while federal agents prowl disrepectfully in our church."
At the Kentucky Gathering the Family had reached a compromise agreement with the Forest Service which set a per deim limit, excepting emergencies, on the number of times armed law enforcement officers were permitted to drive through the site. That agreement was violated on June 30, 1993 when Kentucky National Guard and State Police, armed with automatic weapons, some had removed, in violation of federal regulations their official badges from their uniforms, attempted to enter the Rainbow church on the land despite requests that they not do so unless they locked their weapons in their trunks. The task force refused to comply with requests not to enter the church while armed, but was stopped when Rainbow Family members sat in the narrow forest road, and blocked police and military vehicles from actually entering the church.
The government task force is apparently using a slightly different tactic in Alabama, where agents enter the church in armed groups of eight or ten to roam disrespectfully through the church, engaged in activities such as verbally assaulting children, voyeuristicly ogling women taking showers, and acting in a generally thugish manner.
The actions of these agents threaten not only the Rainbow Family, but extend to everyone within the legal jurisdiction of the US.
School children know that since the beginning of the United States freedom of peaceful assembly on public lands has been considered an inalienable right. Explaining that it had a problem with "the First Amendment," on May 6, 1993 the Forest Service published proposed amendments to 36 CFR 251 & 261 which would transform the "right" of assembly into a "privilege, a violation of which would be punishable by six months in prison and/or $500 fine. These proposed regulation would change the Rainbow Gathering from "constitutionally protected activity" into a "crime," with potential adverse impacts on the Boy Scouts or any other user of National Forests.
Presently the government has no legal authority to interfere with the Rainbow from gathering. Some Family members predict that nation's capital is likely witness a response to the government's lawless proactive enforcement tactics, and draconian regulatory proposals.


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