Minister arrested for actions at Brunswick, Ga. health care protest

BRUNSWICK, Ga. - A minister, who got into the middle of a health care protest this week and shouted at the participants, was arrested for not having his own permit to demonstrate.

Zack Lyde, minister of a small Brunswick church, refused a police officer's directive Wednesday to leave the sidewalk where a group of about two dozen people displayed signs opposing President Barack Obama's health care plans, waved flags and waved at passing cars.

When an officer asked Lyde if he had a required permit to demonstrate, Lyde acknowledged, "I'm not going to move and you're not going to arrest me."

Seemingly a minute later, other officers arrived, put Lyde facedown on the sidewalk, handcuffed him and hauled him away.

Two officers pointed Tasers at Lyde, but did not discharge them before Lyde dropped to the sidewalk.

Around the time of the G8 Summit on Sea Island in 2004, Brunswick changed its ordinance to require permits for protests. The anti-Obama group had one.

"This is what I want," Lyde said, but pushed back as officers forcibly walked him toward a car and shouted, "I want everybody in America to know they're arresting a Vietnam veteran for being on the sidewalk."

Lyde has said he served in Army security in Vietnam.

He was charged with disorderly conduct, booked into the Glynn County jail and released about 3:20 p.m. on his own recognizance, officials said.

Before his arrest, Lyde and some protesters got into a shouting match as some told Lyde, "Union man. Go home."

When someone invited Lyde to join the protest, he yelled, "I won't join people who don't care about people."

Some of the protesters urged police not to arrest Lyde.

"That is the wrong thing to do," Marjorie Peters told officers as they handcuffed Lyde.

Later, Peters said Lyde should have been allowed to stay. "We're about liberty," she said.

Others agreed with her.

"He told me what he thought. I told him what I thought. I think it was wrong to take him away," said Peters, who described herself as "a longtime objectivist."

The hour-long protest began at noon and was organized by those who had arranged two "tea parties" in Glynn County.

Holding signs decrying socialism and urging the preservation of capitalism and freedom, they waved to passers-by who blew car horns.

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., has an office in the federal building, but was not in town.

Organizer Dawn Forbes said, "I'm disappointed we had a counter-protester who was not willing to talk" and who appeared uninterested in anyone else's views.

Asked why she attended, Maryette Herdon said, "I am not willing to give up my liberty and freedom for safety and security."

Herndon said her great-great-great-great-great-grandfather served with George Washington.

"He'd roll over in his grave if I weren't here," she said.

There were signs that claimed Obama would cut Medicare and Social Security benefits. Ron Latham held one that said, "Obama lies. Granny dies."

Asked why he was protesting, Latham smiled and said, "You do it when you retire."

William Temple paced the sidewalk in Colonial period attire. A re-enactor, Temple maintained a British accent even when pretending to protect his flag from Lyde and called out, "Down with tyranny. Down with kings."

But as 1 p.m. drew near, he branched out saying, "Down with Jane Fonda. I remember you from Vietnam," and even "Down with Monica Lewinsky. We saw you, Bill Clinton."

terry.dickson@jacksonville.com, (912) 264-0405

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