Presidential Debate Protests: Sit-in On Yamato Road, Mass Arrests at the Lynn Debate | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Presidential Debate Protests: Sit-in On Yamato Road, Mass Arrests at the Lynn Debate

It wasn't just Obama and Romney who had something to say last night in Boca Raton. Hundreds of citizens (and some non-citizens) showed up to speak their minds on the election and the issues of the day. Fifteen of those who spoke out went to jail for their troubles.

It was all fun and games for the first part of the evening, a First Amendment festival with a range of opinions and concerns. The heavy action came later, when most of the crowd had left and as the debate ended and the last cavalcade of politicos and their police escorts got ready to split.

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The debate site itself, Lynn University, was under heavy lockdown, cordoned off by a multi-agency police task force and ticketed admission only. Even the media were roped off like cattle, penned in on a side road as they arrived, then bussed in. It was not the kind of show where Juan and Jane Q Public could stroll on it at their leisure. As ever, they had to take it to the street.

The early evening demonstrators were spread out over the four corners of the intersection of Yamato Road and Military Trail. In traditionally Democratic-leaning Palm Beach County, it was a surprisingly, overwhelmingly GOP crowd, and a youthful one at that--neither characteristic typical of Boca Raton. ("No event in the history of Boca Raton has started later than this debate," tweeted Atlantic magazine pundit Jeffrey Goldberg.)

The Romneyites were fervent, with an undercurrent of anger, their most prevalent sign reading "Keep America Free. Fire Obama." Like four more years and we'll all be in the gulag. A close second read: "Fire the Socialist." That would be the "socialist" who bailed out Wall St. Clearly, language has lost all meaning.

The "socialist" signs came courtesy of David Faustin, of Delray Beach, a 50-year-old, self-described libertarian. He'd like to tell the two candidates two things: "Stick with the principles of the free market. The second thing is 'liberty.' Liberty."

Ram (no second name given), a 37-year-old Boca resident and, according to his sign, an "[Israeli] Immigrant for Romney," works in real estate. "Business is picking up," he said. "But the policies Obama put in place, it takes longer for the economy to recover."

Ram might have gotten more space here were it not for a bristlingly paranoid Romneyite beside him who hassled the shit out of Fire Ant for "biased reporting." Read it and weep, lady.

Laurie Lipman and her two huge St. Bernards were posted on the northeast corner of the protest quadrant. "I bring them to all the Romney rallies," the 56-year-old Delray Beach resident said. "They're an icon of freedom," her companion Andrew Stein, 24, also of Delray, chimed in. "They're the GOP on four legs."

Asked about her candidate's notorious family vacation with the family dog strapped to the roof of the family car (is there a theme here?), Lipman replied, "They probably didn't have room in the car. I didn't think it was inhumane. The cage was secure. The dog got some air."

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