Wow! What an amazing day. First, the most successful Free Keene Fest yet! Hundreds of Keeniacs of all ages came out to Railroad Sq. for the over five-hour event! It was a whole lot of fun with lots of booths, great bands, and it was a civil disobedience extravaganza! There was drinking in public, open cannabis smoking, gambling, unlicensed food sales and vendors, and best of all, no police and arrests! Of course there was the event itself for which no one pulled a permit. People were acting like free people, and all was well! Following that was the daily 420 in Central Square and then activists headed out to he brand-new Cheshire Jail to demonstrate for our friend and publisher of the NH Free Press, Russell Kanning. Not only did we circle the outside of the jail building twice (the first time with about five activists, the second time with about fifteen), but we also found Russell!
Upon completion of our second walk around the building (which the prisoners nearly universally loved, except one anonymous guy in the basketball court who told us to fuck off), the entire on-duty contingent of Keene police as well as Swanzey and Marlborough police were on-scene. They approached and we stood our ground, resulting in a dozen arrests. Twelve is the largest number of simultaneous arrests in the history of the NH liberty movement (during Pumpkin Fest, we had three arrests followed by three more a half hour later), and some were wondering in the history of New Hampshire when the last time mass arrests of this amount or larger were made. If anyone knows if this is an all-time record, please post a comment with details.
All were charged with “criminal trespass”, though Rich Paul also received marijuana and paraphernalia charges. There are signs up everywhere about it and they say that it’s only a misdemeanor if you have been ordered to leave. Most of us were never ordered to leave – just arrested. Everyone was given June 1st as an arraignment date at 8am. The only one of us who was not released was the heroic Lauren Canario who was wanted on a “disorderly conduct” warrant out of Nashua. More detail to come on her as we learn it. I’ll post below all the videos I qikked today – sorry I didn’t do one during the arrests – was too distracted to start one up, but Dale did manage to call Porc411 twice from inside the jail (Call #1, Call #2).
When are you going to move to NH, and specifically Keene? Don’t let us have all the fun without you! Today they managed to outnumber us during the arrests, but what if 30 or 50 people had circled the jail?
UPDATE 4/26: Here are some pics of the event from NH Freedom Activism Image Repository.
Here are the Qik videos, which were streamed live at the time, starting with the Free Keene Fest: