2 protests: War, Perriello office location draw citizens
The sidewalk in front of Congressman Tom Perriello's office was the scene of two protests last week. The Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice protested the war in Afghanistan, and the Jefferson Area Tea Party objected to... having to stand on the sidewalk rather than right in front of Perriello's door.
"Our primary concern is that he's leasing an office on private property," says Tea Party chair Carole Thorpe. "Liberal groups are being allowed to protest unimpeded and conservatives are not."
While the June 16 protest of the left-leaning Center for Peace and Justice also was restricted to the sidewalk or inside Perriello's office, the Tea Partiers harken back to an earlier Peace and Justice protest on May 19 when members performed street theater in the parking lot and were neither booted off nor arrested.
Lloyd Snook, attorney for landlord Lisa Murphy, denies his client had any knowledge of the May 19 event, which went largely unheralded except for getting videotaped by Tea Party activist Keith Drake. "There is no policy of prohibiting conservative protests and tolerating liberal protests," insists Snook.
The ranks of the 20 or so Center for Peace and Justice protesters against an additional $33.5 billion in war funding were swelled by the media, police, and Jefferson Tea Party observers, following a June 10 letter to both groups from Police Chief Tim Longo, warning them to keep their petitioning and assembling activities out of the private parking lot or face trespassing charges.
The June 21 Tea Party "Right to Redress" rally was slightly larger, with approximately 28 protesters, including 5th District Republican primary candidate Laurence Verga, and radio host Rob Schilling.
Protester Bob Quinn had a further complaint about the sidewalk: It's not handicapped accessible. "Perriello has to be told the people who are his voters don't like what he's doing," says Quinn. "We might as well have [U.S. House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi as our representative."