2010-06-24 / Local & State

U.S. Court Tosses Protester’s Arrest At Liberty Bell

By Maryclaire Dale ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A U.S. appeals court says an anti-abortion protester had a First Amendment right to demonstrate near tourists at the Liberty Bell.

The decision overturns lower-court rulings that upheld the 2007 arrest of Christian evangelical Michael Marcavage (mahr-KAH’-vidj) of Lansdowne.

Marcavage had been sentenced to a year’s probation for refusing a National Park Service order to move to a nearby demonstration area on Independence Mall.

The appeals court is tossing the charges on procedural and free-speech grounds. The court says he caused no more of a disturbance than a cancer-survivors group and horse carriages nearby.

Marcavage is founder of a Philadelphia-based group called Repent America that opposes abortion, homosexuality and evolution.

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