Protestors gather at Crossgates Mall

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxx.xxxxxx at
Wed Mar 5 17:03:20 MST 2003

Protestors gather at Crossgates Mall
Upset over arrest of man with peace T-shirt GUILDERLAND, N.Y., March 5 -
Protestors descended on Crossgates Mall Wednesday. The "Mall Walk for Peace"
drew people from several peace groups to protest the arrest of 60-year-old
Stephen Downs of Selkirk earlier this week. Downs was charged with
trespassing Monday night when he wouldn't leave the mall after he refused to
remove his T-shirt bearing a peace message.

DOWNS AND HIS SON, 31-year-old Roger Downs, each had a pro-peace shirt made
Monday night at a store in the mall.  One shirt simply said "Let Inspections
Work" on one side and "No War With Iraq" on the other.  The other shirt said
"Give Peace A Chance" on the front and "Peace On Earth" on the back.
     The men say they were not disturbing any shoppers, but their presence
apparently caused enough of a disruption for one Macy's employee to report
them to mall security.  When security approached them in the food court,
Downs and his son were asked to remove their shirts. Roger Downs complied,
but when Stephen Downs wouldn't, he was told to leave the mall.  When he
refused, he was arrested for trespassing.
     Demonstrators upset about the trespassing charge arrived at Crossgates
shortly before noon Wednesday wearing similar peace messages.  At 12 p.m.,
they entered the mall together and sat down for lunch at the food court.
They said they were doing what Stephen and Roger Downs should have been
allowed to do.
     When a few protestors decided to get a little more vocal, a 55-year-old
veteran carrying a sign reading "Remember 9-11" confronted them.   The
veteran yelled at the protestors and then went so far as to push some of the
     Organizers say they still consider the day a success, and that they got
their message across: that everyone should be able to exercise their first
amendment rights, even on mall grounds.
     "There are a lot of people who are perfectly okay with coming here and
shopping here but are totally opposed to the idea that this mall can censor
people's opinions," Craig Wills of Troy said.
     Both mall security and mall management were pretty much absent during
the most of the two-hour protest.  Management did issue a statement saying
Downs' behavior and his T-shirt were disrupting customers.
     Downs and his son said on Tuesday that's not true.
     "We were just shopping. We were wearing these T-shirts. We weren't
handing out leaflets, we weren't saying anything," Roger Downs recalled.
     Signs posted at entrances to the mall say that "wearing of apparel...
likely to provoke disturbances... is prohibited" at the mall.
     Stephen Downs is due in Guilderland Town Court on March 17.  Many of
the protesters say they'll be there, too, to again show their support.

Xxxx A. Xxxxxx
Ph.D Candidate, ABD
Department of Political Science
Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy
University at Albany, S.U.N.Y.
135 Western Avenue, Milne Hall
Albany, NY 12222
xxxx.xxxxxx at
"Frequently the only possible answer is a critique of the
question and the only solution is to negate the question."
Grundrisse, "The Chapter on Money"

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