Town Halls Gone Wild
Town hall meetings are now being defined by violence and arrests. In St. Louis, six people, including a Post-Dispatch reporter were arrested at an event by Congressman Russ Carnahan.
Two of the people were arrested on suspicion of assault, one of resisting arrest and three on suspicion of committing peace disturbances, police say.
The forum drew an overflow crowd of several hundred to Bernard Middle School gym in south St. Louis County. Dozens of people, many carrying signs about the health care debate, were kept out because of the turnout. The back and forth between factions within the crowd created a carnival-like atmosphere inside and out between members of the movement opposing President Barack Obama’s policies and groups who came to show support for the president’s proposals.
In Tampa, Congresswoman Kathy Castor and State Rep. Betty Reed were shouted down during opening remarks.
Moments later, violence broke out just outside the main auditorium doors, prompting police to close off the meeting room. A freelance photojournalist was among those roughed up suffering damage to both his glasses and camera equipment.
“That’s the most violent anyone has been towards me,” said Mark Bishop, who drove from Orlando to video tape the event. “It was surprising to say the least.”
At least one person was treated for minor injuries following the altercation and could be seen on video with a shirt partially torn off his body.
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