Man holding "Free Manning" sign arrested at 4th of July parade

We all know the U.S. is basically a corrupt third-world dictatorship compared to Canada, with your “health care” and “human rights.” No need to rub it in - we’re jealous enough already. If you had warm weather year-round I’d be there in a heartbeat.

The idea of proto-Antinouses moderating parade signs has cheered and amused me.

Funnily enough, I have ripped a few signs out of people’s hands and trampled them in the gutter.

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Well, we have the right to post our opinions on the Internet.


For now.


I’m the guy who was arrested at the LaPorte, Indiana 4th of July Parade.

I had a “Free Bradley Manning” banner hanging on the side of our building in downtown LaPorte and was watching the parade from the roof. I observed what appeared to be parade spectators spontaneously joining various groups (pro-life, pro-military) and marching with their own signs.

We hastily made a red, glittery “Free Bradley Manning” sign and wedged our way in. We were not angry or shouting. We smiled and waved. Someone drove up in a little electric car and asked us to leave the route. We politely replied that we were not going to leave the route. She sped off and within a minute I was talking to a cop.

The details of my arrest for protesting the imprisonment of Pfc. Bradley Manning are mostly accurate but I want to clarify a couple of points.

First off, I have lived mostly in San Francisco for the past ten years. However, I was born at St Anthony’s, raised entirely in Michigan City and graduated from Elston High School in 1994. I am a proud product of LaPorte County.

Secondly, I never directed any obscenity at any parade spectators. The arresting officer directed profane and abusive language at me during the arrest. I began parroting the exact words he was speaking into my ear so that his statements were understood by people observing my arrest.The officer then twisted my handcuffs in retaliation for this parroting of his language.

Additionally, I was never read my Miranda rights during my arrest or at any time during my incarceration.

My intention was not to disrespect the 4th of July parade or any law enforcement officers. I feel strongly that Pfc. Manning’s heroic sacrifice demands both attention and action. I did not shout that I felt my rights were being violated. The arresting officer was making statements to the effect that I was a disgrace to protest in front of veterans. I replied (to him) that I was using the freedoms for which they fought.

I’ll be in court on Friday and I intend to fight the charges.

Honestly, I’m not deeply concerned about my guilt or innocence in this situation. My intention was to bring attention to Pfc Manning’s heroic sacrifice. Bradley Manning is going to lose his freedom for showing the world the truth and people need to hear about it.

I’m not an experienced activist so I’d love to hear from people.

Jason Urbanski
LaPorte, Indiana


Free speech, our 1st amendment right, have been under attack by the state for some time. There should be criminal penalties for public servants violating the constitution. At the end of the day, they are the criminals not us.

Free Manning. Stop chasing Snowden and Assange.

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I was on a drill team and marched in a lotta lotta organized parades. A parade, even a small one, is an entertainment machine with lots of moving parts. They are very regimented, to keep things moving safely. There are usually marshals along the route keeping the groups moving, but spaced out enough. Horse poop has to be shoveled, people kept from running across the street, sick participants helped. It’s an art to keep groups forming up in the staging area on time and in the right order and to deal with no-shows.

Groups have to sign up in advance so everything can be planned in advance. (For example, you can’t have the Doberman Drill Team right behind the Silver Rancho Ladies Andalusians or you don’t want to have two very large groups in a row.) Often not everyone can be accommodated: who matches the parade theme (if there is one), what’s the limit on how long the parade can be, how many entrants of one type you want to have, how many invited groups accept, who caused a problem in a previous year, etc.

Almost every parade I went to had some group or other with signs instead of glockenspiels, but I’ve seen people with flags who tried insert themselves removed from the street. I’ve seen people on the sidewalk with “God Bless America” signs told to move back because they were blocking the view of people behind them. I’ve also seen groups who had misrepresented what they were turned away at the step-off. There is a lot of “Time, Place, Manner” to deal with before you ever get to consider content.


Joining an existing group is not the same as inserting a new group.

I understand that.

I’m fine with it if it turns out I broke a law. Law doesn’t always define whether an action is right or wrong.

Civil disobedience, dig?

Of course I hope I win my case–but I’d still do it again if I lose.

Anyway–I’ve said my bit. I appreciate hearing all view points.



“Caught” holding a sign? As if he were trying to be sneaky about it? He was HOLDING A FREAKING SIGN! This demonization of dissent is frightening.

I can hardly believe the country I was born in now has “time, place, or manner restrictions” and “content-based enforcement” against free speech.

It’s long past time that we gave the government one on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

Hmmm…yet another indication that the water in the freedom pot is slowly heating up. This is one frog who has jumped out and is now watching the “cooks” very closely. Not quite ready to start actively exercising some civil disobedience to articulate my observations, but the point is approaching.

Time to tighten the leash on the surveillance hackocracy!

You sure are an optimist. For a reality check, head over to the Free Range Kids blog.

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[quote=“SoylentPlaid, post:20, topic:2892, full:true”]
Man. As a socialism-loving, maple syrup swilling Canuck, I have to ask: do you guys have any freedoms left anymore, or are those all restricted now “for your safety”?
[/quote]It’s not just us, unfortunately. You might notice that your fine country didn’t exactly step up to the plate when one of our whistleblowers needed a safe haven.

True, but I don’t see how that’s going to work.

Canada: “Hey Mr. Snowden, come over here. We’ve got poutine!”
USA: “And we’ll just force the plane down in Boston or something and take him off, or just send a carload of troops over the border. You all still live within easy artillery range of the border, right?”

Fact is, even if Canada were in the mood to annoy the large, heavily armed and belligerent country to the south of us that we have all sorts of extradition treaties with, Canada’s not exactly a good hiding spot. Any extraction/hit squad is at most a few hours’ drive away.

It wouldn’t have made a great hiding spot but it still would have been nice to get the offer. It wasn’t so long ago that Canada welcomed (or at least didn’t flat-out reject) American citizens who didn’t want to get shipped off to fight in Vietnam.

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A member of a high school marching band could absolutely be suspended or expelled if he or she chose to wear such a thing instead of the usual uniform, and most certainly could be prevented from marching with the rest of the parade. Not saying it’s right, but there you go. I read about a Native American high school graduate recently whose diploma was withheld because she wore a feather on her tassel at commencement.

[quote=“jimh, post:40, topic:2892”]
I read about a Native American high school graduate recently whose diploma was withheld because she wore a feather on her tassel at commencement.
[/quote]That’s about as patriotic as you can get. There’s a whole damned American-revolution-themed song about a guy who stuck a feather in his hat.

Harper wasn’t in charge then. There were a few American soldiers who fled to Canada rather than go to Iraq. That took a while to go through the court system, though I think they ended up being extradited.

If Snowden did happen to land in Canada, I assume he would end up being sent to the US, but in theory Canada wouldn’t turn him over without a guarantee that he wouldn’t be executed or tortured. I say in theory because I wouldn’t put it past the current government to just hand him over.

Bravo cousin