Seven Iraq war protesters who had a permit to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Colorado Springs were arrested Saturday for refusing to cooperate with the police. The protesters wore green "peace" shirts and carried signs that said "Kids Not Bombs" and "End This War Now." Despite the possession of a permit, the marchers were halted by police when parade organizers saw their signs and asked the police to intervene.
There were about 45 people in the group--Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission--and, according to the Colorado Springs police, most of them left when they were told to. However, a small group sat in the road and were "escorted off." One woman sustained a minor leg injury as she was dragged off, a retired priest was taken in a chokehold, a taser gun was pointed at the protesters, a police officer broke one of the signs over his knee, and a good time was had by all.
The protesters say they marched with the parade last year without any trouble. The parade organizers, who say they have no memory of the protesters' having marched before, permit political candidates to march, but "It is our goal not to turn this into a confrontational political atmosphere."