Bid to Ban Anti-war Activists from
The sentencing, at which the
Bid to ban anti-war protesters is dropped
By JASON CLAYWORTH • Des Moines Register
November 11, 2010
The requested ban - believed to be the first of its kind in
“It is a victory,” said Christine Gaunt, 54, a Grinnell grandmother who has been arrested multiple times for her nonviolent anti-war protests. “We do have to celebrate those big-time when they happen, because they’re kind of few and far between.”
For the past eight months, Gaunt, a vegan hog farmer and library worker at
Federal protection officials have typically scooped her limp body into a wheelchair and escorted her from the building, often giving her a $100 citation for trespassing.
Gaunt and Elton Davis, 48, a self-employed laborer from
Typically their arrests draw little attention, since both have faced multiple charges in connection with protests in recent years. Gaunt has served a total of at least nine months in jail, while
But the request from Polk prosecutors to Iowa District Judge Odell McGhee to permanently ban the two from the
Sally Frank, a Drake University law professor who is married to Davis and is helping represent him and Gaunt, called the unusual sentencing request concerning.
“The right of petition is a central part of our constitutional rights, and to try to permanently prevent somebody from petitioning their senators is a severe violation of their rights,” Frank said.
Spokeswomen for Harkin and Grassley have said neither the senators nor their staffs requested the permanent bans.
“Some people think we don’t support the troops, that we don’t notice that there are 3,500 Iowans that are currently serving in
A man leaves the