AFA South Gate versus North Gate

AFA will permit protest at NORTH GATE onlyEvery year, those disposed to holding peaceful protests at the Air Force Academy will deliberate about the relative merits of using either the South Gate or the North Gate entrances. Whether one sees more traffic than the other is difficult to measure because the AFA routes the incoming cars via whichever entrance is not being protested. Accordingly, the AFA only offer permission for demonstrations at a single entrance at a time. When we’ve tried to cover both, the Air Force forces us out based on the “agreed” restrictions. Since both entrances are located on Air Force land, this may be regarded as their prerogative. But let’s not confuse the AFA “entrances” for the approaches to those points which are on public land. The I-25 overpass, as an example.

The North Gate is the more secluded and invisible to the public eye. The southern approach is more visible. Hopefully, their militant posturing about protests being prohibited at the South Gate will not confuse the issue about where the AFA is indeed allowed to dictate public access. The Academy Boulevard I-25 overpass which leads to the AFA South Gate is State controlled property. A local court precedent has already been set that the AFA does not have jurisdiction to expel or arrest people who are on the I-25 grounds.

In the following statement:

“We will send you a letter soon from our the Air Base Wing Commander outlining the rules for your demonstration. We are requiring all demonstrations to take place at the North Gate as this is a safer location for everyone since vehicles will be going slower there.”

The AFA can only be only referring the grounds around its entrance, and cannot address the Colorado Department of Transportation property immediately adjacent.

Furthermore, the CSPD has recently communicated that it has no problem with citizens holding banners on that overpass, nor any other overpass.

“As far as the I-25 overpass question. I can let you know that the CSPD has no issues with citizens expressing their first amendment rights on the overpasses as long as the citizens do not interfere with pedestrian or vehicle traffic, or affix banners/posters to the structure”

Though targeting both incoming traffic flows for activism divides the perception of our numbers, it is the only way to reach the majority of those headed into the AFA. In many instances, the overpass on Academy Boulevard reaches those drivers going to either of the entrances. Bush would see either if he is taken by motorcade to the commencement ceremony.

Though we have ample precedent to conduct tomorrow’s action unmolested, there are also several fall-back locations that will be preferable to harassment or arrest. The overriding objective tomorrow will be to keep our message visible to the visiting president and to our fellow citizens of Colorado Springs.

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