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Occupy San Jose protesters told not to use chalk

Nov. 4, 2011 at 2:58 PM
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SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Members of the Occupy San Jose protest in California said city workers told them they and their children aren't allowed to make chalk drawings.

Shaunn Cartwright, 41, an unofficial spokeswoman for the protesters, said city workers used street cleaning equipment Wednesday to remove sidewalk drawings of U.S. Flags, dinosaurs, peace signs and rainbows, the San Jose Mercury News reported Friday.

Cartwright said the workers told them they aren't allowed to use chalk on the sidewalks and walls.

City spokesman Tom Manheim said officials "don't want any chalking anywhere ... But we're much more concerned about chalking the wall than the sidewalk."

Manheim said chalk drawings would be considered defacing public property.

"If you make a decision based on the cuteness of their message," Manheim said, "then we can't say no to the neo-Nazis who want to put their swastikas up."

Cartwright said the protesters don't understand the issue.

"It's so ridiculous that now we have Chalkgate when we have a rising homicide rate and an increase in gang violence here," Cartwright said. "But instead, the city is focusing on stifling little kids expressing their creativity with chalk."

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