Salvador Reza, leader of Puente Arizona, was arrested on Thursday, Feb 24th when he tried to attend a scheduled meeting with a legislator at the Arizona State House. Accused of “trespassing” he was read the following statement when he protested being thrown out:
“The Senate president's office has instructed me to tell you that due to disruptive and disorderly behavior you are no longer allowed inside the Arizona State Senate.”
What was this “disruptive and disorderly” behavior?
On the prior Tuesday, Reza had attended a hearing of the Appropriations Committee that attracted hundreds of people, more than could fit in the hearing room. An overflow room was opened up with a TV monitor. The crowd of people in that room began clapping and cheering at parts of the proceedings.
Senate President Russell Pearce determined that this “rowdiness” was an affront to the decorum of the proceedings. Sgt. Jeff Trapp, in charge of Senate security, said that Pearce told him the cheering people in the overflow room should:
“be identified, photographed, and that the information be posted at the Senate guard desk and that these offenders be denied further entrance into the Senate.''
No one knew about this order until Reza was detained the following Thursday.
Senator Pearce is one of the main supporters of new draconian laws that would make the previous Arizona legislation SB1070 seem liberal, and he has decided that he has the right to ban “unruly” activists from the statehouse permanently.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have been in overflow rooms at a State House when things got a bit rowdy. I have cheered and cried when I was supposed to be silent. Occasionally the security guard would come in and tell us to settle down, or threaten us with being expelled from the hearing if we weren’t quiet, but NEVER was there a threat of being banned permanently. NEVER was there a “list of troublemakers” who were harassed at a later date when returning to the building.
As the protesters in Wisconsin have shown us, the State House in every state should be the people’s house.
What can you do?
Send a letter to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer condemning Senator Pearce’s actions
More details about this story in the East Valley Tribune
As for the new proposed Arizona laws, read up on them here. It’s a topic for another diary!