Immigration protest ride gets bumpy

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Stephanie, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. Stephanie

    Stephanie Diamond Member

    Jul 11, 2004
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    Love how those libs, are all for freedom of speech...

    Counter-demonstrators preclude speeches at Capitol
    Pioneer Press
    Dan Erickson waited for his chance to infiltrate the rolling protest against illegal immigration.

    The Chisholm, Minn., man watched as a caravan of 13 motorcycles dubbed the 21st Century Paul Revere Ride pulled up to the Minnesota State Capitol on Tuesday afternoon, on their national protest ride. Erickson — who favors immigrant rights — wedged his Harley Dyna Glide into their line of parked motorcycles.

    But he put his machine in backwards, with the tailpipes facing the Capitol steps.

    "That's so if any of them spoke I would rev up my engine so you couldn't hear them," Erickson said, an American flag dangling from his throttle.

    In the end, he didn't have to.

    The caravan — five out-of-staters plus their local supporters — never got a chance to speak publicly during their Fourth of July rally stop in St. Paul. They were met by about 150 counter-demonstrators who banged on drums, chanted and hollered at them.

    The motorcyclists left, disgusted, after 30 minutes.

    "We don't need to drown out our opposition to be heard," shouted Mark Hennemann of Moorhead, Minn., who rode with the convoy. "This is a perfect example of one side trying to make the other side not be heard."

    The protestors made no apologies for that.

    "It is ridiculous that these guys even exist," said Keith McGrath, of St. Paul. "I am here because I support this" — nodding to the crowd around him — "and not that," looking at the motorcyclists below.

    The caravan is a summer-long motorcycle ride that will visit each state's capital city seeking immigration control. The ride began in Denver and will end in Washington, D.C.

    As they reached St. Paul on Tuesday, ride spokesman Frosty Wooldridge of Denver climbed off his bike and assessed the rambunctious crowd on the steps.

    "You are either a lawful citizen or a lawless citizen. You can twist your perspective all you want, but reality won't budge," he said, adjusting his American flag head-kerchief.

    "Immigrants have taken over L.A. You hear Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, anything but American," said Wooldridge. Not controlling immigration in some way is, he said, "a recipe for destroying any civilization."

    His fellow riders were taken aback by the opposition.

    "My family is all from immigrants, and on one side I am American Indian. I am not opposed to immigration. But let's control it," Hennemann said.

    The caravan riders were Caucasian, dressed in leather, and subdued. Their motley opposition was young, old, loud, mixed-race and thoroughly irked.

    "Who … are you to keep anyone out of this country?" shouted Michelle Gross of Minneapolis.

    There was middle ground to be found — both sides seemed to be open to limiting future illegal immigration in some way. But they differed on treatment of illegal immigrants already in America, whether to offer some form of amnesty or send them back.

    "These are good hard-working people, and we should give them a chance," said Lillian Long, a nun with the Sisters of St. Joseph, as she banged on a drum.

    Adria Fernandez of St. Paul bounced a sign in rhythm with the chanting, It read: "Immigrants are my neighbors, co-workers, friends…"

    "I don't want these people coming in here to tell my neighbors they are not welcome," she shouted over the din.

    The motorcycles left slowly, and the crowd cheered.

    Erickson, the infiltrating biker with a gray bear, leather vest and "traveling pants" sporting holes eaten by battery acid — didn't ride with them.

    He wasn't in favor of illegal immigration, he said.

    "But (they) are going about it the wrong way. The only native people here are American Indians."

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