500 show up to support Gibson Guitar

Oct. 9, 2011 at 9:34 PM
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NASHVILLE, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- About 500 people gathered in Nashville this weekend to rally against a federal raid on Gibson Guitar's Nashville and Memphis offices.

Federal officials confiscated wood pallets, guitars and computer hard drives in the August raid, the second in two years at Gibson, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported. Gibson is suspected of violating U.S. environmental laws, though no charges have been filed and the 117-year-old guitar company says it has done nothing wrong, the newspaper said.

The Saturday rally and a concert were organized by a coalition of several dozen Tea Party-affiliated groups.

Gibson Chief Executive Officer Henry Juszkiewicz thanked the rally-goers and said with public support his company would "fight the injustice and unfairness together."

"We will fight, and we will make sure other companies do not face bullies with guns," he said. "With your help, we will make permanent changes."

Conservative syndicated radio host Phil Valentine, who spoke at the rally, drew contrast between the Gibson rally and other protests, such as Occupy Nashville.

"There is a fundamental difference between them and us, and that's that we happen to love this country and love capitalism," Valentine said. "They need to go and occupy a job."

Other speakers at the event included National Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer, radio host Steve Gill and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

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