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Pro-Life Activists Arrested at College of Alameda

Contact: Gingi Edmonds, Survivors, 559-772-7911

ALAMEDA, Calif., October 29 /Christian Newswire/ -- Three college-age members of the Survivors Campus Life Tour were unlawfully arrested yesterday at the College of Alameda, California, while handing out literature on the public campus. They have been in custody for over 12 hours.

From the time of their arrival on campus the group quietly held signs, distributed literature and peacefully dialogued with students. After a security guard attempted to dispel a group of curious onlookers, the group was told to leave and threatened with arrest by the sheriff's department.

When the members of Campus Life Tour refused to stop their free speech activity and leave the public school property, the three activists handing out literature to students were handcuffed and arrested. They were charged with causing a disturbance, although the police professed on videotape that the group was not yelling, shouting, blocking the walkways, or preventing students from getting to class.

Kortney Blythe, director of Campus Life Tours for Survivors states, "My team members are in jail for peacefully exercising their free speech rights. It is a travesty that these Alameda officers put these heroes in handcuffs claiming they were just 'following orders'. Sounds familiar. Don't we live in America - land of the free - or is it Nazi Germany?"

When the individuals being arrested repeatedly asked why they were being taken into custody the sheriff's deputy responded that he was just doing what the school principal asked.

Blythe states, "Since when is it okay to arrest innocent citizens and then tell them they can take it up with someone else if they have a problem with it? I thought law enforcement officers were supposed to enforce the law, not what some school administrator says."

Allison Aranda, staff attorney for Life Legal Defense Foundation states, "I'm shocked! It is our practice to send a letter to the college at least 24 hours before the planned activity to notify them of the Survivors' visit to their campus. In this case, the College of Alameda chose to ignore the notification letter and simply waited for the group to appear on campus and then threaten them with arrest."

"I am appalled that a public college would go to such great lengths to suppress free speech on their public campus. It is outrageous that one individual is given the sole discretion to censor what messages may be shared on a public campus. To give one person the authority to deem certain speech too controversial to be spoken in a public forum is wrong -- that is called content-based viewpoint discrimination and it is unconstitutional."

"These sorts of blatant civil rights violations by public college officials, who should know better, will not be tolerated. We will not sit idly by and watch our public institutions disregard the constitution."

Campus Life Tour is a pro-life campus outreach project of Survivors, description of organization here (www.survivors.la)