5/19/13 – Federal Park Rangers and Philadelphia City Police disrupted the monthly “Smoke Down Prohibition” protest at the Liberty Bell calling for marijuana legalization and made several dramatic arrests.
On Saturday May 18, 2013 a crowd about 150 gathered in front of Independence Hall.
At 4:20PM, the moment when much of the crowd participates in civil disobedience by openly smoking cannabis, dozens of law enforcement moved into the crowd.
Those on stage speaking to the crowd were targeted for detainment, including one of the organizers.
There were at least five arrests, including NA Poe of the comedy crew The Panic Hour.
Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion was briefly detained but released. One unidentified woman was roughly carried away but also quickly released.
The protests take place in front of Independence Hall permanently reserved by the National Park Service for First Amendment activity. Despite the targeted arrests and a heavy police presence, dozens in the crowd continued the action by openly smoking marijuana from 4:20PM-4:45PM.
At four previous “Smoke Down Prohibition” events there were no arrests or citations.
NA Poe and Adam Kokesh are still being held in the Federal Detention Facility at 7th and Arch Streets. A solidarity demonstration will take place in front of the jail today starting at 2:00PM.
“What was originally a rally to highlight issues regarding cannabis prohibition has shown that our First Amendment rights are not protected by the park rangers and police,” said PhillyNORML Executive Director Kevin Clough.
The Panic Hour issued this statement: “These arrests are the beginning of a long fight we have ahead of us to end cannabis prohibition and maintain our right to free speech.”
FB Solidarity Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/194482224036867/
The N.A. Poe Defense Fund – http://fundly.com/the-n-a-poe-defense-fund