Saturday, July 5, 2008

Arrest leads to Rainbow riot

Arrest leads to Rainbow riot
Star-Tribune staff writer Saturday, July 05, 2008

U.S. Forest Service officers pointed weapons at children and fired rubber bullets and pepper spray balls at Rainbow Family members while making arrests Thursday evening, according to witnesses.

"They were so violent, like dogs," Robert Parker told reporter Deborah Stevens of the libertarian-oriented, Round Rock, Texas-based We the People Radio Network [] after the incident.

"People yelled at them, 'You're shooting children,'" Parker said during an interview on the network's "Rule of Law Show."

About 7,000 people have arrived at the gathering near Big Sandy in the Wind River Mountains for the annual Gathering of the Tribes, a seven-day event of fellowship, partying including illicit drug use, praying, and living on the land.

They camp on Forest Service land around the country every year, but the Rainbow family's nonhierarchical methods -- no one can speak for the Rainbows, much less sign a land use permit -- often have stymied their relationships.

But rarely do the tensions escalate into violence.

The Forest Service's Incident Command Team in Rock Springs issued a press release Friday morning, saying officers were patrolling the main meadow of the gathering Thursday evening when they contacted a man who fled and was later caught. Another Rainbow was detained for physically interfering.

Officers began to leave the area with the subjects and were circled by Rainbow participants, according to the news release from Rita Vollmer of the Incident Command Team.

Ten officers were escorting the detained subjects when about 400 Rainbows surrounded the squad, and more officers were requested, according to the news release.

"The mob began to advance, throwing sticks and rocks at the officers. Crowd control tactics were used to keep moving through the group of Rainbows," the news release said.

Other law enforcement agencies were called to the scene, the news release said.

Officers made five arrests; one officer suffered minor injuries and was cleared by a local hospital; and a government vehicle sustained damage, the news release said.

"This lawless behavior is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it," said John Twiss, Forest Service director of law enforcement. "The safety of our employees, public and Rainbow participants is our number one priority, and we will continue to protect everyone on the national forest."

Vollmer of the Forest Service Incident Management Team did not return calls requesting comment Friday.

Rainbow Family members' accounts told a different story.

One member who identified himself only as "Ryan" told Stevens he was with his two children in his tent at the Rainbows' Kid Village north of the main meadow where the major prayer circles and dinners are held.

One of the 10 officers pointed a pepper spray gun at him and his children, he said. His girlfriend was using the latrine outside when four officers came to her and asked if she was smoking marijuana.

The officers then ran through the Kid Village and through its kitchen, and chaos erupted, he said.

Other witnesses recounted seeing about 10 officers of the Forest Service's incident command team drag an older man from the woods near the Kid Village, according to interviews by Stevens.

A woman in the village told the officers to take their guns out of the Kid Village. An officer threw that woman to the ground and pulled her head back by her hair while she was being handcuffed, one Rainbow named Rick told Stevens.

"I got out and yelled, 'what the f--- are you doing?'" Rick said. "That got it started."

The officers backed up in a defensive position, and some used their Tasers on Rainbows, he said.

Rainbows called for their crisis management team, and Rainbow family elders urged the crowd to remain calm, he said. However, the crowd kept moving, and the Forest Service officers began randomly spraying the crowd with pepper spray bullets.

The officers, with their two suspects in custody, found an exit trail from the main meadow, and the peacekeepers urged the crowd to let them go, he said.

"These people deliberately, for hours, were aggressively working the camp over and working the people over," Ryan said. "They chose the kiddie village -- the one place, the kids, to take their stand and create a riot, and I bought into it. ... They were looking for an excuse to do some damage to us."

Ryan's partner, Feather, told Stevens she was pepper-sprayed, and saw another Rainbow with welts all over his body.

Feather also recounted seeing a couple with a young child and an infant who had just emerged from the woods and didn't know what was happening.

The couple asked the officers what was going on, and the officers pointed their guns at the children. The officers walked away, but one turned around and pointed his rifle at the baby, she told Stevens.

Robert Kinn of Afton told the Casper Star-Tribune in an interview Friday that he and his family had been camping and drove to Big Sandy because they'd never been to a gathering.

Forest Service officers gave Kinn a citation and a $175 ticket for allowing someone to ride on his vehicle's trailer, and said the officers weren't polite. "I was scared, was harassed."

Kinn and his family went to the main circle for dinner, when they heard people yelling about needing help to put out a fire in the Kid Village.

About 10 minutes later, people came back to tell the main circle the fire was over, and the crowd resumed eating, he said.

One of the senior Rainbows gathered the crowd and explained the clash with the Forest Service, and another man showed where rubber bullets hit him in the stomach, Kinn said.

Kinn and his family drove home that night, he said.

Reach Tom Morton at (307) 266-0616, or at


THE HEADLINES ARE CHANGING: 400 anarchists attack Feds - BostonHerald

400 anarchists attack feds -

Wyoming: Officers Are Attacked


Forest Service, Rainbow members tangle again


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - An arrest has turned into a confrontation at a gathering of the so-called Rainbow Family near Big Sandy, Wyoming.

The U.S. Forest Service says when its officers took someone into custody, about 400 other people at the gathering circled them and began to interfere physically. They reportedly threw sticks and rocks. The Forest Service says other officers arrived and used a pepper solution to control the crowd.

Five members of the group were arrested, and one officer was slightly hurt.

The Rainbow Family is a loose affiliation of eccentrics, young people, and hippie types who choose a forest each year to hold a weeklong national gathering. About 7,000 are at this year's in Wyoming.

Group members and federal officers have clashed repeatedly in years past.


100 from Rainbow Family made appearances at a temporary federal court


Rainbows appear in court

By TOM MORTON - Casper Star-Tribune - 07/05/08

FARSON, Wyo. — More than 100 participants in the annual Rainbow Family of Living Light “Gathering of the Tribes” near Big Sandy made appearances at a temporary federal court at the fire station here this week.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management had issued numerous citations and warnings, ranging from traffic violations to drug possession, during the week before the event semi-officially began Tuesday.

Chief U.S. District Judge William Downes signed the unusual order to create the temporary courtroom because the closest federal courtrooms to the gathering are in Green River, Lander and Jackson, he said Thursday.

Farson was chosen because it is close to the gathering and because it imposed the least inconvenience to law enforcement and the Rainbow gathering participants, Downes said. “We sent the magistrate judges to them.”

This marked the first time in Downes’ nine-year tenure that he has signed an order to create a temporary court, he said. “But it was clearly appropriate here.”

The court will remain as long as Rainbow gathering participants are in the area, he said.

About 40 participants appeared in court on Wednesday, and an unknown number appeared on Thursday, according to the clerk of federal court in Casper. One defendant on Wednesday apparently got out of hand and was subdued with a Taser, she said.

On Tuesday, about 70 participants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Marty of Green River.

One group of about a dozen defendants included a family with two children and a mother nursing an infant.

None of the defendants was in custody.

Seated behind the cited Rainbows were at least two dozen U.S. Forest Service and other law enforcement officers.

The Forest Service had assembled an incident management team of more than 40 officers from across the country, plus police dogs and administrative personnel, agency spokeswoman Rita Vollmer said before the gathering began. Vollmer did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Those cited by the Forest Service and other agencies had been charged with Class B misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail, Marty told the court.

The U.S. attorney’s office did not recommend any jail sentences for any of the charges, she added.

Several defendants had been arrested for minor traffic violations, including lack of proof of insurance, expired registration, failure to use a turn signal, and parking five feet away from a posted area.

Based on the recommendations of U.S. Attorney Jim Anderson, Marty fined most of these defendants minor amounts such as $20, plus $25 in court costs and $10 for the victims’ compensation fund.

Marty dismissed the citation of a Colorado man whose vehicle had one of his two rear license plate bulbs burn out during his 700-mile trip to the gathering.

Jim Anderson told the court most drug charges he would prosecute were related to marijuana possession, and he would recommend fines of $250.

However, one defendant who possessed multiple drugs and fireworks received a fine of $400.

Like other Rainbow Family events, the courtroom scenes took on their own surreal flavor.

The defendant with the $400 fine shook the hand of an officer before she left the building.

Other defendants mouthed, “We love you,” to the officers.

One officer gave a toy badge to a child of one of the defendants.

Another officer recorded the courtroom with a video camera. Recording and other electronic devices are forbidden in federal courtrooms unless a judge authorizes their use, Downes said.

Outside the fire station, Forest Service officers took their police dogs around vehicles to sniff for drugs.

U.S. marshals brought out a case of bottled water for the defendants lined up at the tent where security personnel conducted searches.

There, too, Rainbows made nice with the government.

One Rainbow asked a marshal how he kept a straight face.

“I’m smiling on the inside,” he responded.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Video by S. Johnson. Footage of Gael Murphy, Desiree Fairooz, and Linda Lisanti, who were among several protester of George W. Bush at Monticello on July 4, 2008

Breaking Video : PROTESTERS Call Bush War Criminal !!!

Bush heckled during July 4 speech

(CNN) — It's The Fourth of July, but not everyone was in a festive mood when President Bush delivered a speech Thursday at Thomas Jefferson's famous home, Monticello.

The President, who was talking part in Monticello's annual naturalization ceremony, was interrupted several times by protesters.

"War criminal!" one protester repeatedly yelled as she was escorted out by Secret Service members.

"He has brought fascism to this shore," another man yelled.

The president did not appear to acknowledge the protesters.




Five members of the Rainbow Family, a group of thousands of hippie-like people, were arrested after a confrontation with federal officers.
(Getty/ABC News)

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Rainbow Gathering: Forest Service Incident Management Team Encounters Interference


by Forest Service media release

July 4, 2008
Friday, July 4, 10:51 AM, Media Release from the Rita Vollmer, Intermountain Region Regional Office Public Affairs Specialist for the Forest Service, Office: (801) 625-5153, Cell: (801) 791-2390. Forest Service media release of July 3, 2008 incident at Rainbow Gathering at Dutch Joe/Big Sandy in Wyoming.

Rock Springs, Wyoming (July 4, 2008) — Forest Service officers were patrolling the main meadow area of the National Rainbow Family Gathering yesterday evening. The officers made contact with a subject that would not cooperate and fled. The subject was apprehended; once detained other Rainbow participants began to interfere with the situation.

Officers began to leave the Gathering site with the subject and were circled by more Rainbow participants that began to physically interfere. Another participant was detained for physical interference.

Ten officers were escorting the detained subjects when about 400 Rainbows surrounded the squad trying to leave. More officers were requested to assist in the main meadow area. The mob began to advance, throwing sticks and rocks at the officers. Crowd control tactics were used to keep moving through the group of Rainbows.

"This lawless behavior is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it," Forest Service Director of Law Enforcement, John Twiss, said. "The safety of our employees, public and Rainbow participants is our number one priority and we will continue to protect everyone on the National Forest."

A total of five arrests were made in relation to this incident. One officer suffered minor injuries and was cleared by the local hospital. A government vehicle also incurred damage during the incident.

Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Highway Patrol and Sublette County, Fremont County, and Sweetwater County Sheriff Offices all responded to the Forest Service officers during the incident.

"The Forest Service Incident Management Team appreciates all of the help and assistance from the agencies coordinating with us during this incident," Incident Commander, Gene Smithson said. "It is important that we continue to work together."

Approximately 7,000 Rainbow participants have congregated in the Big Sandy area.


Rainbow Family attacked by FEDS. Pepper sprayed, Rubber bullets,


Rainbow Family have been gathering every 4th of July since 1972.
The unofficial Rainbow Family Web Site.

The forest service bought 700 tasers and told them before hand they will use them!!>

AUDIO: Rainbow Family attacked by FEDS. Pepper sprayed, Rubber bullets

Wittiness say there are military style men there marching in
formations of four.

All cars are being searched on the way in. Many are being cited for
minor vehicle equipment infractions and tickets being levied.

Video of the scene is going to be put out.


July 3rd radio show

Related sites and articles:

Special court set up for Rainbow Gathering
AP - FARSON, WYOMING - A special federal court has been set up in the
Farson Fire Hall to handle minor cases arising from the Rainbow Family
gathering in southwest Wyoming.

The court was scheduled to hear some 70 cases Tuesday. Officials say
the court will handle cases involving misdemeanor offenses of U.S.
Forest Service regulations, such as traffic violations and minor drug

Federal officials prepare for Rainbow Family

Senator Barrasso slammed the U.S. Department of Agriculture, calling
the Forest Service’s management of this year’s Rainbow Family
gathering totally unacceptable.

Local reaction mixed on Rainbow Gathering

The unofficial Rainbow Family Web Site.



Tuesday, July 1, 2008