A Wisconsin town has banned the display of signs on a pedestrian overpass calling for President Obama’s impeachment, saying the signs could distract motorists, but Tea Party activists say the ban is an infringement on free speech.
The protests, which occurred above an interstate highway in the town of Campbell, Wisconsin, are part of the nationwide “Overpasses for Impeachment” movement that has staged hundreds of rallies across the nation since June. The town’s action suggests a possible route for Democrats to combat the movement. Calls for Obama’s impeachment, even among elected representatives, have grown since the summer.
The Campbell town board has made two ordinance changes that “basically bar anyone from displaying ‘signs, flags, banners, pennants, streamers, balloons or any other similar item’ within 100 feet of the bridge,” according to the La Crosse Tribune.
“The issue of them distracting people … in my opinion, constituted a safety risk,” said Town of Campbell Chairman Scott Johnson.
According to the Tribune:
French Island resident Tony Curtis, who calls himself an independent who will join “a cause I believe in,” scoffed at the rationale the bridge gathering put anyone at risk.
“They’re hiding behind safety as an excuse,” Curtis said . . .
While Campbell officials have said the group can pick another spot in the town, the pedestrian bridge offered the maximum exposure for their anti-government message, Curtis said.
The local Tea Party group has threatened to sue the town. An attempt to bypass the regulation by having protesters each where a shirt with a letter spelling out “IMPEACH” was also broken up by a policeman. Have a look.
Even and attempt to display the American flag on the overpass resulted in a $132 citation.