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Protests for rally will be directed to free-speech zones
Ken Brown mug for web
Ken Brown
Protesters during President George Bush’s Monday appearance at Georgia Southern University probably won’t get very close to the president.
    The university's Police Chief Ken Brown said protesters will be put in a free-speech zone at the Russell Union Rotunda.
    That location is more than 600 feet away from Hanner Fieldhouse, where Bush will speak at 11 a.m. Monday. The fieldhouse is not directly visible from the rotunda.
    "They will not be able to congregate in the roadways. They have to go to the free speech zone," Brown said.
    People who choose to hold signs or otherwise protest along Fair Road or other places won't likely be ordered away as long as they don't impede the flow of traffic or "congregate to the point crowds can't move freely in and out of Hanner,” he explained.
    "We want people to be able to voice their concerns, as long as they do it in an orderly manner."

A protest organized digitally
   A message board on popular social networking Web site is dedicated to protesting the visit, and informed members a demonstration is planned at the rotunda at 8:30 a.m. the day of Bush’s visit. As of Friday afternoon, the message group had 266 members.
    Heather Holloway of Planned Parenthood of Georgia, a media liaison for the protesters, said she didn't know how many people would actually protest Monday.
    "This is kind of a social experiment – it's mostly been organized via Facebook, which is a new tool," she said.
    She said the protest plan is to rally while people gather at the rotunda, then attempt to march peacefully to the Hanner Fieldhouse.
    "We don't know what the Secret Service is going to have to say about that," she said. "It's a completely peaceful protest. If the Secret Service tells us to get out of the way, we plan to get out of the way. We don't want to cause any trouble, we just want to show our concerns about this administration."

Fair Road protest
  Another post on the Facebook message board said local Democrats will assemble Monday at the Wendy’s restaurant on Fair Road and march as close to Hanner as local and federal law enforcement would allow.
    “…The police telling students NOT to leave the rotunda is in fact telling them to stay out of sight and hence out of mind. It is also an intentional and strategic dividing of university and community protesters…,” read that post, which is attributed to Lori Amy, a GSU student.
    Another post, however, cautioned against such a march.
    “…A march down Fair Road might make us look like a bunch of lawbreakers...people will start to get arrested and that will take attention away from our message and have it focusing on the arrest,” reads a response attributed to Allison Nunziante, a GSU student who started the “Protest Bush…stop oppression!!” message board on
    A large group gathering on Fair Road may be cited by police. Statesboro’s picketing ordinance stipulates that any group of more than 25 people requires a picketing permit.
    City Clerk Judy McCorkle said that no permits were granted, though one person applied for one after the deadline passed. Picketers have to apply for a permit 20 days before an event – which would was impossible for anyone protesting Bush’s visit, since it was announced Friday, Oct. 20.
    “There will probably be people all along the stretch there (at Fair Road),” said Statesboro Police Major J. R. Holloway. “None of us have ever had a president go through before, so we go by what our ordinance says and try to keep everything peaceful.”
    Groups larger than allowed by the ordinance would be cited, and fined by the municipal court, said Holloway.
    “That’s going to be the plan, just to cite them,” he said.
    According to instructions Nunziante posted, protest signs at the rotunda can’t have sticks attached to them, and profanity should not be used. She also urged protesters to not leave the rotunda area, and to keep demonstrations peaceful.
    Riley Wells, president of the GSU chapter of the Young Democrats, declined to give any information on whether the Young Democrats are planning any counter-events to the Bush visit.
    “It’s still a few days away,” he said. “We’ll have to see.”
    An e-mail sent to the Statesboro Herald from Haley Shank, vice president of the GSU Young Democrats, stated "There will be protests all around Statesboro the GSU campus on Monday and the days following."

'Free speech zones'
    “Free speech zones” first came to prominence during the 1998 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, when then-Mayor Andrew Young set them up for protesters to make sure the convention ran smoothly.
    The zones came to prominence in Georgia more recently when they were used to contain protests during the G8 economic summit on Sea Island in 2004.
    Opponents to the zones have called them “exclusion zones,” and noted that they are often set up far away from where the subjects of protest will be, and that supporters are not confined to the zones.
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