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February 20, 2009

Vermont-Connected RNC Protesters Acquitted of Charges

Local-protest_0 In early September, we reported that a pair of protesters with Vermont connections were arrested in St. Paul, Minnesota, during the Republican National Convention. Turns out the twentysomething protesters, Sam Maron and Katt Tolman, are part of a group called the "Wall Street" seven that was later charged with Obstructing Legal Process, Disorderly Conduct, Unlawful Assembly and Blocking Traffic.

According to a press release from the group's legal counsel, the National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota, the charges were dismissed on January 23 after a judge ruled there wasn't enough evidence to support a conviction. (An advocacy website states that other RNC protesters are still facing charges.)

In a phone interview Tuesday, Maron told Seven Days he could have gotten 3 months in prison for each charge, but that he never expected to: "We all believed that we were wrongly arrested," the University of Vermont alum explained. "We knew it was a case of the police rounding up anybody who they thought looked like a protester, and not one of actually stopping people [from] committing crimes."

The RNC legal infraction wasn't Maron's first. Two weeks before the convention, he was deported from Beiing for dropping  a"Free Tibet" banner on the new headquarters of China's state-run television station.

What's Maron's next move? He says he just finished a stint at the New York City offices of Students for a Free Tibet and is thinking about hiking the Appalachian Trail. At some point, Maron adds, he may return to Vermont.

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