Protesters welcome Romney | Arkansas Blog

Protesters welcome Romney



Protesters await Mitt Romneys arrival at the Capital Hotel
  • Brian Chilson
  • Protesters await Mitt Romney's arrival at the Capital

Mitt Romney is due to arrive in Little Rock any minute now for a fundraiser that includes a $50,000-per-couple dinner at the Capital Hotel. Protesters are on the scene. Here's a larger version of the picture above if you can't quite make out their sign.

We considered better ways to spend $50,000 than break bread with Romney in this week's Big Picture.

David Koon's UPDATE: Just got back from the Peabody, and it's a minor scene down there, with drivers slowing down and honking for the small camps of anti- and pro-Romney protestors. They apparently slipped Romney in through the back, but that hasn't stopped the TV trucks and protestors for congregating on Markham.

Several familiar faces from the Occupy Little Rock protests are on hand. As I was talking to several of them on the sidewalk in front of the Capital Hotel, a middle-aged woman who eventually identified herself as a nurse pulled to the curb in a while mini-van, rolled down her window and began berating the anti-Romney protestors, telling them that jobs come from the rich and welfare programs are "bleeding this country dry."

Opposing protesters at Mitt Romney appearance in Little Rock Aug. 22, 2012 image

Up the sidewalk, a Romney supporter in a red "Legalize Freedom" t-shirt briefly got in a heated discussion with several protestors over what appeared to be gay rights, with the man in the red shirt eventually shouting "You're going to burn in hell!" at his opponent.

Miguel Alvarez and his sister Adriana Alvarez, both of Little Rock, were there holding posters protesting Romney's stance on immigration, which Miguel characterized as "anti-immigrant."

"If he ever gets into office and the DREAM Act comes before him, he's said he would veto it," Alvarez said. "We'd like to remind Mitt Romney that he actually has an immigrant background. His father was of Mexican descent."

Long-time Occupy Little Rock protestor Greg Deckelman — who was one of four protestors arrested for refusing to vacate the Occupy Little Rock camp at 4th and Ferry when police cleared the camp last May — was holding up an American flag covered in corporate logos. He said the people inside were buying much attempting to buy much more than a dinner with their $50,000.

"They're trying to buy influence," Deckelman said. "They're trying to buy access to get somebody who is running for president to listen to what they have to say. Why is their voice any different that my voice? I can't pay $50,000, and even if I could pay $50,000 to go in there, I wouldn't."

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