Picket Report from Clearwater
Subject: Clearwater 2000 - Day 1
Date: 4 Dec 2000
Picket Report Day 1 I don't want to bore anybody with the flight to Clearwater but will mention just one thing. Flying into London, the pilot had to make a wide turn which brought us over East Grinstead. Seen from above, St. Hill looks magnificent; oh well, as the old saying goes, first appearances are often deceptive.
My plane landed in Tampa after midnight. No trace of PI's, they were probably saving them for the days to come. The shuttle brought me to the hotel where I fell asleep dead tired.
There was a cheerful reunion at the breakfast table with some people from last year and there were several new faces, too. I got a XENU-CITY ball cap, too.
Then Jeff Jacobsen rented a van and let me use his car so that all us picketers could ride relatively comfortably between the Hotel and Fort Harrison. Others also rented their own cars. Jeff's car had been quickly commandeered by the Austro-German contingent. :-)) His license plate reads "NO RPF".
We made it up to the LMT towards noon to get picket signs. Across from the LMT there is a multi-storied parking garage which is not only wonderfully suited to house cars, but also to provide welcome shade for the private eyes hired by Scientology to watch the front door of the LMT and photograph those going in and out. So we were prepared to find somebody there when we drove into the garage. Sure enough, there was a man with his back to us who sprang quickly into his car when he spotted us. Not quickly enough to avoid having a couple of pictures taken by speedy Tilman. The man rolled his window down and said something about "service" before he sped off. Huh?
Three seconds later the door to the stairs burst open and three people scurried towards us. Two of them, one Stallone dude and a rather unkempt woman in a red sweater, had bundles of papers in their hands while the third one, a fat man, recorded the scene on video. The both of them tried to shove papers into our hands while they screamed something about an "injunction" at us. What they meant was a court order which they got the day before. In it were mentioned several staff of the Trust and a few others who were to keep 10 feet away from all Scientologists and from all entrances to their buildings.
Besides that the order contained sketches which told you what areas they were not allowed to picket in. Funnily this order applied not only to the people named but to all those "in concert," that means those who did the same as they. That was the reason people were trying to serve us these papers. By accepting them we would have been subject to them.
Unfortunately the English language is not our strong point and we did not have aaaaaaany idea what _that_ was all about. Since they absolutely could not get us to take their papers, they finally threw them at our feet with the words, "now you are served," to which Tilman dryly remarked, "hey, you are littering..." We left the papers lying on the floor and walked over to the Trust. There we got signs or made up new ones and started out to our first practice picket.
We didn't get far, just up to the corner. In front of the SC's bank building as we were waiting for the light to cross the street, we were stopped by a policeman. He amicably asked us to wait while he called his boss to clear up a few things. Probably Scientologists were complaining about us even as we spoke. I don't know if he would have remained so friendly if we would have just kept on walking, but we accommodated him and stood on the corner with him. Since we were not entirely clear as to the legal situation at the moment and we didn't want to unnecessarily annoy anyone, we leaned on our picket signs. When the policeman saw that he walked over and told me in undertones we could hold the signs up, noooobody would complain about _that_. So we did.
:-))))) His boss pedaled up on a bicycle in about 10 minutes, took out a copy of the order and patiently explained to his colleague how the legal situation looked to him. After that the first policeman came back to us and gave us the all-clear, "everything is ok. You can go wherever you want".
Picketing itself took place without major incident. The residents showed their approval by honking, giving us the thumbs-up or calling out words of encouragement.
After somewhat more than an hour, we made our way to "Schlotzky's" for sandwiches. After that we Europeans had to take a break since we still had jet lag. That evening there was a Barbecue. About 45 picketers were there, and Lisa's family was there, too. The food was great and we rang out a successful day back at the hotel bar.
I'm using someone else's computer in the Trust to write this report, so I'll be moving on (so as not to waste a minute of valuable enturbulation time). There are a few more nice things I can get to later. Sorry for the typing errors, American keyboards are enough to drive you crazy ....
P.S. special news for xx. The pictures you wanted are in
the mail :-)))))))
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