Another shining moment for Georgia!

The G-8 Summit ended six weeks ago, but to 15 protesters who were arrested June 10 on a march to Sea Island, the annoyance drags on. All face August arraignments in Brunswick on misdemeanor charges for obstructing police officers and blocking a highway. A handful also are charged with refusing to give their names at the time of arrest.

Bill Cristman, a Decatur attorney who is co-representing the defendants, said all are now out of jail in Brunswick, where they'd spent days after their arrest.

The arrest of the 15, which came after an eight-mile march from Brunswick to a barricade on the Sea Island causeway, was the pitiful climax of one of the most overhyped news events in Georgia history. This week, Trent Schroyer released a scathing analysis of the security plan surrounding the G-8. Schroyer is a New Jersey college professor who helped organize The Other Economic Summit, an educational counterpoint to the G-8 that has attracted hundreds of attendees at past summits. But because state officials refused to clear the way for a venue for TOES until the last minute, only about 75 people came to the conclave, which was held in five empty classrooms in an otherwise vacant community college in Brunswick. Even then, he says, government officials removed the few signs that organizers had posted pointing the way to TOES.

"The administration employed virtually every piece of artillery in the Homeland Security legislation to stifle our freedom of speech, assembly and to petition our grievances," Schroyer wrote. "They did so with the complicity of local officials in a rural Southern state that is predominantly Republican and had already demonstrated its ability to protect 'national security' in ways unique to Georgia.

"Georgia," he concluded, "revealed itself as a police state that uses fear as a method of social control."

-- Steve Fennessy

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