ALUMINUM BASEBALL bats, frying pans and bullhorns made 7th and Arch streets one noisy corner yesterday, as dozens of activists gathered outside the Federal Detention Center to protest arrests they said were made at a marijuana event Saturday.
"No victim, no crime," the crowd chanted on Arch Street as prisoners tapped on the narrow windows above.
According to the group of protesters, two men were being held at the detention center after being arrested Saturday afternoon at a monthly event at Independence Mall called the "Smokedown Prohibition." Many people openly smoke marijuana at the events to promote legalization, and no arrests have been made or citations issued in the past, the group said.
"This time was different," said Mike Whiter of PhillyNORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws ).
A YouTube video from the event shows Park Police detaining a man identified as Adam Kokesh. Philadelphia marijuana activist Chris Goldstein of Freedom is Green, a marijuana-news site, said in a news release that five people were arrested. Whiter said Kokesh and a man identified as N.A. Poe were being held at the detention center.
Representatives from the National Park Service did not return several phone calls for comment yesterday.
Philadelphia police officers also can be seen on the video at the event Saturday. Officer Christine O'Brien said she had no information on the department's involvement.
A recent profile of Kokesh in the Washington Post described the former U.S. Marine as a "professional rabble-rouser." Poe is a comedian who hosts a podcast called "The Panic Hour."