Day of Heckling on Plaza Thrusts Issues to Forefront
The scene earlier today on the Main Street plaza included street
preachers carrying placards and screaming their beliefs, sometimes
December 17, 2002
KSL News Specialist Carole Mikita reporting
Salt Lake City Council chambers are expected to be packed tonight for
the public hearing on the Main Street plaza controversy.
The issue of free speech came to a boiling point on the Main Street
Plaza today... when protestors heckled wedding parties.
News Specialist Carole Mikita has that story as well as reaction from
Deanie and Bruce... today's encounter on the plaza caused the mayor to
rethink his own time, place and manner restrictions which he proposed as
a solution to this problem... it now appears that even he believes some
have pushed the idea of free speech too far.
They call themselves Bible believers... with giant placards in hand and
shouting sometimes through bullhorns....they drew plenty of attention
from passersby and wedding parties.
"IF YOU TRY TO DO ANYTHING TO INFRINGE ON A PERSON'S FIRST AMENDMENT
RIGHTS... AND MY ATTORNEYS DON'T ONLY LIKE TO GO AFTER THE POLICE
DEPARTMENT, THEY LIKE TO GO AFTER YOUR PENSIONS..."
A Salt Lake City police officer, tried to get them to move just 20 feet
down the walkway, so that brides and grooms could take pictures with the
temple behind them. They refused to leave...
"COMMON DECENCY, YOU DON'T HAVE IT... I'M NOT MOVIN... THAT'S RIGHT...
I'M NOT MOVIN..."
Anne Burt/ Mother of the Bride"I'M NOT ANGRY, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE TO GO
WITH THE FLOW... BUT IT'S TOO BAD, IT'S TOO BAD... I'M SURE THEY ALL
HAVE DAUGHTERS AND SOMEDAY WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THEIR PICTURES TAKEN, TOO
BUT, YOU KNOW, LIFE GOES ON..."
"AND SAINTS AND SANTS AND ANGELS SING..."
Then a Latter-day Saint seminary choir in the downtown area to perform,
added their voices to counter the screams of the street preachers...
Tonight Mayor Anderson said he received a letter from the ACLU saying
protestors must be allowed along the full length of the easement... he
saw what happened this morning and changed his mind about time, place
and manner restrictions.
Rocky Anderson/ Salt Lake City Mayor "THERE WERE SOME VERY OBNOXIOUS,
LOUD PEOPLE YELLING OBSCENITIES APPARENTLY... DISRUPTING A WEDDING
PARTY... THAT IS SO COUNTER TO ANYTHING THAT ANYBODY INTENDED ON THIS
PLAZA AND IF IT TAKES THAT TO MAKE THESE TIME, PLACE AND MANNER
RESTRICTIONS WORK... THEN WE OUGHT TO JUST TAKE THE WHOLE PROPOSAL OFF
THE TABLE AND LOOK AT SOMETHING ELSE..."
The mayor is now supporting the proposal that he made yesterday with the
Alliance for Unity.
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