Vandenberg protester bucks Supreme Court, gets arrested
March 6, 2014
One week after the Supreme Court ruled that antiwar activist Dennis Apel could not protest along a stretch of Highway 1 that is located on the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Appel returned to the spot Wednesday and was arrested along with a fellow protester. [Lompoc Record]
Appel, a Santa Maria resident, has been arrested more than 15 times at Vandenberg Air Force base in the last 20 years. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the Vandenberg commanders can arrest for Appel for protesting anywhere on base property, even if it is along a highway the public can access. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion that the court would not even consider Appel’s 1st Amendment argument.
On Wednesday afternoon, Appel stood beside Highway 1 at Vandenberg and read a statement condemning the ruling and arguing that the government is waging a campaign to silence him.
“This ruling is dangerous, dangerous for our freedom of speech. It is dangerous for our obligation to hold our government accountable, and it is another step in the erosion of the constitutionally guaranteed rights which were put in place to secure our liberty,” Appel said.
Military officers then arrested him. Steve Kelly, a Bay Area priest also was arrested.