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Ordinance protects Scientology center

SANTA ANA, Calif., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Foes of the Church of Scientology in California say their free speech rights are being violated by a county law barring protests at a church video facility.

The ordinance received quick passage this week with the support of Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone, the Los Angeles Times reported. It requires demonstrators to keep their distance from residential properties in unincorporated parts of the county.

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Golden Era Productions in Gilman is the church's main production center for videos. About 500 people live and work on the campus.

Catherine Fraser, a Golden Era spokeswoman, said employees felt threatened by protests, many of them organized by an anti-Scientology group calling itself Anonymous. She said 30 bomb threats and 56 death threats have been aimed at the facility in the past year.

"It is my job to keep our people out of harm's way," Fraser said. "We want to balance free speech with the right of privacy."

On Thursday, sheriff's deputies broke up a protest outside the main gate.

"They all go inside when we come and we never have more than three or four people here," Donald Meyers of West Hollywood told the Times. "This is the Xanadu of xenophobia."

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