PRESS RELEASE: New Batch of Rainbow Tickets to be Heard Monday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Website: www.rpcnews.us
Email: rpcrew1 at gmail.com
John McCall, Attorney at Law, (505) 256-1998

NEW BATCH OF RAINBOW TICKETS TO BE HEARD MONDAY

Gatherers Call Event Success Despite Harassment by Law Enforcement

Albuquerque, NM (June 27, 2009)- On Monday, June 29th at 9:00 AM attendees from the Rainbow Gathering are expected to appear in New Mexico Federal Magistrate Court, 333 Lomas Blvd, Albuquerque for mandatory hearings on tickets issued by United Stated Forest Service (USFS) Law Enforcement Officers. Interested parties are encouraged to attend.

An estimated 3,500 Rainbow volunteers are currently on location setting up for the 7,000 or so expected to attend this year’s annual Rainbow Gathering to be held in the Parque Venado area of New Mexico’s breathtaking Santa Fe National Forest from July 1 through 7, 2009. Clean-up runs from July 8 to completion. For over 37 years, Rainbow attendees have been gathering in a different National Forest each year with one united purpose: to pray for world peace. Each year they set up their own infrastructure, from parking to security, all on a volunteer basis. This year is no different.

The gatherers remain chipper even in the face of adversity by the USFS’s Incident Command Team, who have been continuing with roadblocks. Gatherer Garrick Beck reports, “The overall ‘vibe’ onsite is peace, love and co-operation. We had a huge food delivery this morning, everyone seems busy chopping firewood and creating the Gathering Village, and we were even graced with an intense rainbow after our dinner prayer.” Many businesses in the surrounding areas have erected “Welcome Rainbow” signs. Also, US Marshals have been accompanying USFS Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) on their patrols throughout the Gathering. Some attendees think the Marshals may be keeping an eye on the LEOs to be sure they don’t get out of hand, as they have at this Gathering and in gatherings past.

Last Monday a barrage of cases involving ticketed Rainbow gatherers were heard in Federal Magistrate court. Early reports indicate that most tickets were paid. One Gatherer who fought his charge received a sentence of community service cleaning up the Gathering site. Tickets issued at illegal roadblocks may be contested in court.
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The tickets are primarily for minor traffic and forest use violations. The imposition of mandatory hearings for minor tickets like “dirty license plate” and “failure to use turn signal” (on unpaved roads) is unusual. In most cases, these types of tickets can be remitted by mail when someone is traveling from out of state. The requirement of hearings imposes a special burden on gatherers and appears to single them out for harsher treatment under the law than other citizens.

For the second week in a row, individuals who receive tickets at or near the Gathering not only face potential fines, but are additionally forced to leave a legal assembly and travel 240 miles round trip from the Gathering site near Cuba, NM to appear in court or face possible contempt charges. This is taxing on the gatherers; they must be either up and out of camp by 6:00 AM or get a motel room Sunday night in Albuquerque.

Some gatherers call this a slap in the face after several months of successful cooperation between Gathering volunteers and USFS resource officials to assure a safe and legal event. The USFS issued a permit for the event weeks ago. Then, shortly after the permit was announced, the Incident Command Team arrived and began random searches of vehicles and tents, raided camps at night, issued tickets and generally exhibited hostile behavior towards attendees and volunteers. Still the campers are enjoying their reunion and look forward to a safe, healthy, and happy gathering.

Volunteer lawyers are assisting the gatherers in dealing with these tickets, and to raise protest with the court regarding the oppressive nature of Law Enforcement actions towards the gatherers. American citizens are being needlessly harassed at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars simply because they are exercising their First Amendment right to gather in the woods, pray for world peace and celebrate humanity.

Travel advisory for getting to camp: Have all paperwork and be sure vehicles are in good repair. Have nothing on the dashboard or hanging from the rearview mirror. Keep windshields and license plates clean, especially when driving on unpaved roads. Obey all traffic laws, watch for stop signs, and use turn signals, especially at all unpaved intersections. Follow guidelines of the parking crew who will greet you at the front gate. Pull into the designated Media Parking area and check in. Media is welcome to be escorted through the camp. Tours begin at 12:00 pm daily from the Media Parking area.

Travel advisory for getting around camp: most of the Gathering is a hike from the parking lot. Wear good shoes and bring a large water bottle and a reusable plate and cup if you wish to partake in the free food and drink. Throughout the gathering, keep up to date with the latest developments in parking restrictions by checking at the Info booth and Main Circle announcements. You will find there are many gatherers who love interacting with the media and will gladly be filmed. But in respect for people’s freedom of religious expression, it is requested that anyone taking photographs or film images ask permission from each individual to be included in the shot.

Directions to the Gathering (from Cuba, NM): Take State Road 126 east for 13 + miles to FS Road 103 on left, go 2 miles to FS Road 69 on left then drive 9 miles to where FS Road 69 meets FS Road 70.

This press release is provided as a service of the Rainbow press crew, an unofficial affiliation of volunteers. Additional press releases are on the Rainbow press crew’s website, www.rpcnews.us.

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June 27, 2009. Uncategorized.

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