Two recent high-profile local arrests, along with government surveillance under the PATRIOT Act are spurring a group of concerned citizens to hold a “Patriot Meeting” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the West Asheville Public Library (942 Haywood Road).
Organized by local radio personality Virato, among others, the meeting will be a forum on “the erosion of civil liberties,” according to a statement released by Virato. It will also focus on local incidents such as the arrest of blogger and protester Jonas Phillips by the Asheville Police Department last Wednesday on charges of obstructing a sidewalk while holding an “Impeach Bush/ Cheney” sign and the earlier flag-desecration arrests of Deborah and Mark Kuhn.
Phillips, who will be attending the meeting, said that “it will focus on the real concerns we have about freedom of speech, especially the recent arrests in Asheville.”
He said he’s also concerned about recent remarks made by Mayor Terry Bellamy at the Aug. 14 city council meeting, regarding last week’s protest at the Patton Avenue Bank of America.
“She said she was concerned about protesters coming in from out of town and that the city needs to set up some sort of permitting process,” Phillips said. “It’s still legal to protest on the sidewalks in Asheville as long as you’re not impeding traffic. We’re hoping to keep it that way.”
— David Forbes, staff writer