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Ear to the Ground

Banjo-Playing Veteran Arrested While Protesting Syria Attack (Video)

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Posted on Sep 4, 2013
Screenshot/Live Leak

Emily Yates, a former soldier who served in Iraq, was taken into custody Saturday after using music to peacefully speak out against proposed U.S. intervention in Syria. Although she says she was not doing anything illegal, she was pinned to a bench by federal park policemen and then arrested. The incident took place in Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, according to AlterNet.

Video that captured the incident shows Yates talking with federal park police officers about why she couldn’t stand where she was. After she told onlookers that she wasn’t doing anything illegal, the police grabbed her and brought her to a bench. She was then arrested.

During the arrest, she screamed out repeatedly and said that the officers were hurting her. She said that the arrest shows why the U.S. is a police state.

A website has been set up supporting Yates.“ She was not engaged in any illegal activity and was not told why she was being attacked. While she was busy playing a song, park rangers accosted her,” the website states.

In the video, released on Live Leak, Yates repeatedly says she would happily leave the area if the officers could explain what her tax “money is paying for” with regard to why the area she was standing in was being closed off. At one point, she turns to the audience and passionately exclaims, “the government doesn’t want us to know what it’s doing; it’s top secret ... even if you worked for them, ever.” When several officers attempt to handcuff her, she cries out for help repeatedly, but they do not cease their forceful arrest. The crowd then chants, “Don’t choke a veteran.”

To watch the entire arrest, click here.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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