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Spokane Pastor Arrested After Reminding Police of Free Speech Rights at Drag Queen Library Event


A Spokane, Washington pastor was arrested for obstruction and taken to jail for a few hours on Saturday after refusing to move across the street from the Spokane Public Library while trying to protest a "Drag Queen Story Hour" event held at the library.

Pastor Afhsin Yaghtin of New Covenant Baptist Church was arrested after speaking with police officers, telling them the library is public property and that he should be able to protest next to the building rather than across the street, according to ChristianNews.net.

Video posted to social media showed officers telling the pastor he needs to stand on the other side of the street even though protestors defending the drag queens were allowed on the same side of the street as the library, according to the website. 

Yaghtin was arrested according to a Spokane Police report for "trying to enter the non-designated protest area."  He was released later on Saturday, according to a post on his Facebook page.

Several hundred supporters of the event were allowed beside the library building. But the 200 people who were protesting the event were told by police to stand on the other side of the street.  Protestors held up signs and voiced their opposition to having men dressed as women reading books to children. 

According to The Spokesman-Review, there was a heavy police presence at the story hour event with at least 40 officers surveying the crowds. The ChristianNews.net website also linked to photos of police spotters with binoculars placed the library's roof.  

From looking at online conversations, police expected to see people armed on both sides, which resulted in a strong police presence on Saturday, Sgt. Terry Preuniger of the Spokane Police Department said, but no civilians showed up openly carrying guns, the newspaper reported. 

Tina Humphries, a mother of four children, was standing with the protestors on the other side of the street.  She told the paper it was the first time she had publicly protested. 

"I'm tired of (their ideas) being shoved down our throats all the time," she said. "I'm tired of public facilities being used to further the agenda of the far left."

Humphries also noted she was raising her children as heterosexual.

"If you're a boy, you don't wear a dress," she said.

The Spokesman-Review reports the protest was headed by Anna Bohach, who leads a Facebook group called 500 Mom Strong. In Bohach's op-ed published in the newspaper on Friday, she said drag queens support a toxic environment that demeans woman.

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