Marijuana Smokers Arrested for Civil Disobedience; Anti-War Activist Syrian-Pennsylvanians & Grannies – PA Headlines 4/4 Counterpoint PA 9/24-30/2013



And now, PA Headlines concludes with Activism in Action, a lightning round update on the latest progressive protests in Pennsylvania. This edition of Activism in Action starts in Philadelphia with a protest for the legalization of marijuana that culminated in some of the protesters being arrested for smoking marijuana in an act of civil disobedience, of which I’ll have video clip for you in a moment.

The protest of about 150 people was reported on by Randy LoBasso of Philly Now, who said one of the attendees was Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hanger. He quoted Hanger saying “As a taxpayer, I’m tired of paying $350 million in Pennsylvania to enforce these unjust laws while we’re closing libraries and schools right here in the city of Philadelphia. Shame!” LoBasso reports that the 150 protesters who came from all around the Delaware Valley were organized by Philly NORML and Panic Hour and surrounded by 30 to 40 police officers.

His article says quote, “One of those speaking is Staff Sgt. Mike Whiter, a former Marine who says he suffered from PTSD after his tours during the current War on Terror. There were, he says, ‘a lot of chronic issues that I had from issues I sustained while in the military’—and he subsequently was put on ‘40 different medications’ when he got out. But nothing worked for his symptoms. Once he was put on methadone for pain, he says, he mostly got rid of all the pharmaceuticals. ‘I decided enough with the medications. I’m just going to smoke pot from now on,’ he says today. Now, he claims, marijuana helps him with his symptoms.”

Here’s a video clip from Randy LoBasso of the protest showing some protesters being arrested for smoking marijuana in act of civil disobedience.

Moving on now to anti-war protests, there were at least two unique protests in September against what just a few weeks ago seemed like America’s imminent bombing of Syria, one from a group of Syrian-Pennsylvanians, and one from a group of Pennsylvania grandmas.

Precious Petty reports for The Express-Times that at least 100 Syrian-Pennsylvanians and other Pennsylvanians of Middle Eastern origin turned out in Allentown, PA to protest against the United States bombing Syria. She writes quote, “‘We’ve gathered to spread the word of peace, to avoid any civilian casualties in Syria along with saving our U.S. troops’ lives,’ said Whitehall Township resident Aziz Wehbey, an American flag draped across his shoulders. ‘We have lost enough soldiers from the war in Iraq.’ … Led by Allentown resident Gus Soud, who used a bullhorn, protesters chanted in English and Arabic. They said, ‘U.S., NATO, hands off Syria’ and ‘We love Syria.’ … Bethlehem resident Nizar AlKhatib said U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has made Syria a hotbed for terrorist activity. … Catasauqua resident Hind Azar also criticized U.S. foreign policy, saying it does more to breed terrorists then quell terrorism.”

Finally, and I’m not making this up, the Granny Peace Brigade. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Michael Vitez reports that nine grandmas representing the Granny Peace Brigade printed out 400 anti-war leaflets and handed them out to passersby in Philadelphia on September 16, telling people quote “We’re for peace, not war,” and encouraging everyone to not join the army. Ranging in age from being in their 60‘s to their 90‘s, they said they were lifelong activists taking to the streets because young people aren’t. 96-year-old Evelyn Alloy was quoted saying, “I’ve been doing this all my life. I’m a peacenik.” Goldie Petkov said quote, “We need to do it because the young people aren’t coming out.” Keep on keeping up the fight Pennsylvania progressives, including the Granny Peace Brigade, and I’ll keep reporting Activism in Action.

That’s all for PA Headlines for this edition of Counterpoint PA. Tell me what you think about this week’s PA Headlines and make your own suggestions for future PA Headlines on Twitter @CounterpointPA and on Facebook at facebook.com/CounterpointPA.org. Go to CounterpointPA.org for transcripts, links to the sources used in these stories, and to browse the new categorized video archive for the issues most important to you. This is Counterpoint PA, the only grassroots progressive newscast exclusively about Pennsylvania politics, I’m Aaron DiDonato. And now, time for The Breakdown.

October 2, 2013 · Aaron · No Comments
Posted in: Activism / Protests, Activism in Action, Justice, Marijuana Legalization, PA Headlines, Police, State / Federal Crossover, War on Drugs

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