Free speech is less free in Arkansas. In fact, volunteers with Tradition Family and Property (TFP—Louisiana) were recently attacked in Little Rock during a peaceful rally against Obamacare and its HHS mandate. The incident occurred on July 17.
Man Targets American Flag
At the McCain Mall in North Little Rock, a middle-aged man came up from behind the group as they calmly prayed the rosary. First he said, “Praise be Mary,” giving the impression he was friendly. Next he shouted, “Get the hell out of here!” and rushed our American flag bearer Elias Bartel, knocking him off his feet with a violent blow. Old Glory fell over, but not completely because the 19-foot flag pole caught a power line on the way down and was quickly recovered and set upright again.
“I was pretty shocked… The first thing he did was target the American flag. He wanted to throw it on the ground,” said Bartel. “What he did was beyond disrespect.”
The attacker did not stop there. Without pause, he immediately assaulted our second volunteer, Jesus Guerra, who was holding the TFP banner which displays a rampant lion and the motto: “Tradition, Family, and Property.” As the video clearly shows, our young volunteer was pushed with such violence that he fell backward onto a fire hydrant. The banner also fell.
“I’m bruised, but not about to give up,” Guerra remarked. “The attacker’s behavior reflects the socialist mindset: if they can’t win the debate, they bully you. If they can’t silence the Church on moral values, they use mandates and intimidation.”
As TFP—Louisiana member Cesar Franco dialed 911, the assailant smacked the phone out of his hand. Finally, the police arrived and a report was made.
A woman who witnessed the attack approached and asked for a flyer, Confronting Religious Persecution in America. She told Zechariah Long how great she thought TFP volunteers responded to the aggressor.
The 14-member team is currently touring other Southern cities where the reception has been excellent. Their message alerts the public about the persecution being brought against the Catholic Church by the Health and Human Services mandate and points to the root problem: socialism.
Following the example set by Bishop Jenky of Peoria, Illinois, who called upon Saint Michael the Archangel in the fight for the rights of the Church, TFP—Louisiana volunteers have placed their tour under his powerful patronage. The attack did not hinder the progress of the TFP caravan. However, it does follow a troubling pattern documented in the video Attacked by “Tolerance.”
If you are an attorney in the Little Rock, and are willing to represent the TFP volunteers who were attacked, please contact Cesar Franco at [email protected]