"I was not sitting on the sidewalk, nor obstructing traffic," Robison said. "This ridiculous ordinance gateways into being able to arrest people for being homeless, and I'm not okay with that."
Next was a young man in a turquoise shirt calling himself Danger Dan. After witnessing Robison's arrest, he asked for the officers' names. Police claimed he was obstructing justice and blocking the sidewalk. (The four squad cars blocking a lane of 4th Avenue were apparently not considered an obstruction.) "I'm being arrested for asking questions," he said. "I guess I'm just a huge danger to society."
The third arrest was made when Danger Dan's friend tried to retrieve her notebook from him as he was being handcuffed. The young woman was escorted away as people yelled, "What country is this?"
Last week, behind closed doors, Mayor Katz toughened the sit/lie ordinance, making it easier for police to arrest anyone loitering downtown. That is, "unless you had a musical instrument in your hand," said Russ Kurylowicz, a self-identified activist. "Street musicians are allowed to play for up to two hours without danger of arrest," he explained. As if on cue, an unseen trumpeter across the street from City Hall played a doleful rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." ERIN ERGENBRIGHT
HOME AWAY FROM HOME? About 3500 people--roughly the same size crowd that gathered to protest Bush--packed PSU's lawns at high noon on Sunday to see Democratic hopeful Howard Dean. The overflowing crowd is thought to be the second largest drawn by Dean, bested only by rallies in his hometown, Burlington, Vermont. Just last week, Dean pulled ahead as the leader for the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. To find out more about Dean, check out deanforamerica.com. PB