Capitol Police have forbidden nine supporters and one long-time occupant of Occupy Augusta from entering Capitol Park, the Blaine House grounds, the State House or any state property in Augusta.

They were given criminal trespass notices with no expiration date. If they attend a public hearing or lobby in the State House, they could spend up to six months in jail.

These people were arrested on Nov. 27 after refusing police orders to leave the Blaine House grounds, where they were protesting the state’s move to shut down the camp. They chose an act of nonviolent civil disobedience to call attention to the Occupy movement’s complaints about corporate control of government and income inequality.

This ban should concern all of us. It is an offense against the First Amendment to allow the police, without going to court or giving a reason, to order anyone not to enter public property such as the State House.

Natasha Mayers

Whitefield

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