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Protest!

Picket report, 3/23/02, Los Angeles
24 Mar 2002
Jeff Jacobsen <cultxpt@primenet.com>

Picket report 3/24/02

On the way to LA I was followed by a white and silver van on the interstate. I have no clue when they started following me or how they found me. I got off the interstate and got the plate number of the white van and videotaped the back of the head of my stalker (he seemed shy of the camera as he drove off).

Had a nice party at Tory's Friday night. Thanks for the Magoo award!

Saturday we met for lunch, then went to the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibit to picket. Snefru and I held up the www.xenu.net banner most of the time, even though it was kind of windy. The number of people downtown there seemed less to me than last time I picketed, but there was still plenty of evidence from the passersby who spoke to us that Scientology has a bad reputation in that town.

Elliott Abelson was there and spoke to the obligatory cop who came at Co$' call. It was nice to see that the US Consitution is stronger than even an expensive attorney, so the cop just told us (as they do each time) to abide by the rules and have a nice day.

After a few hours we got the idea to go down Hollywood Blvd to the testing center. I drove Barb and Graham nearby and dropped them off, then went looking for a parking spot. Since the Kodak Center is so close there and many nearby streets were blocked off for the awards ceremony, I couldn't find a parking spot, so I just went back and picketed at the Life Exhibit some more until the gang were done and came back. We then headed to the Shrine Auditorium, dropping Barb off to go home first.

At the Shrine they had blocked off the street that goes in front of the building with 7 foot high lattice work covered with black cloth so no one could see in, and no one inside could see picketers without. Bruce and I unwrapped the www.xenu.net banner (seen on www.primenet.com/~cultxpt/demo.htm) where we had been the previous time, right next to the parking lot entrance. Graham was there with his picket sign as well. About 6 to 8 Scientologists came out with huge picket signs and stood in front of us, thus hiding our banner. We moved to the east across the closed street, and so did the Scientologists, again standing in front of our banner.

I told them "hey, I'm at cause over Ots! I can make you go where ever I want to! Watch this!" and Bruce and I crossed the street to the USC side. I was fully expecting the Scientologists to follow us across, but alas, my powers were not as strong as I thought, and we parked ourselves in a very visible spot for most of the night while the Scientologists were happy to go back and stand near Graham's sign that said something like "L. Ron Hubbard died with psych drugs in his veins." I hadn't noticed what the Scienos signs had said because we were behind them, but they said "welcome to the event" and "this way to the event" which seemed sort of like last-minute choices for slogans to me. But then, maybe Scientologists get lost easily? Maybe they were afraid some Scientologists wouldn't feel welcome? I don't know.

Some other picketers came about a half hour later, so I think there were about 10 of us all together. One new picketer had been standing by Bruce and I but went back to the Shrine side with her sign. Sure enough, as soon as she got over there two Scientologists came over and stood in front of her sign, hiding it with theirs. Now I'd like to ask you all, has anyone ever heard of an organization being picketed sending out their members to hide the signs of the protesters? Is this a first in history? It certainly shows what Scientologists think of free speech.

After a while Bruce and I decided to see what would happen if we went back to the Shrine side. As soon as we crossed the street, 3 Scientologists came and stood in front of us with their signs. One guy started arguing with Bruce, who was happy to argue back. He tried to argue with me too but I told him that so long as he was blocking my free speech I didn't want to have a conversation with him. We eventually crossed the street again and stayed there until 8pm, when we all left our separate ways.

I think the parking lot was mostly full when we left. Just a guess, but I think, though, that there seemed to be fewer people at this event than the last time we picketed there, about 3 years ago.

After I left the Shrine, I stopped at a nearby Denney's to eat. But I noticed a white van like the one that had followed me coming into the lot. There was another giveaway that this guy was a PI following me, so I videotaped him and the van's plate #, and he just did a loop and drove out of the lot. I decided to leave, so I went around the block and saw this guy driving around the neighborhood slowly. I then left and don't think I was followed after that, but I'm not sure.

It was a good, worthwhile picket. We had lots of good conversations, handed out flyers, and allowed Scientology to once again show their true colors.

Gandhi Tech Works

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