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9/12 Hesperia, CA: Airshow cancels Minutemen booth

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    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2007
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      Airshow cancels Minutemen booth

      Organizers want to avoid `distraction’ of threatened protest

      September 12, 2007
      HESPERIA — The Victor Valley Airshow Association told a local Minutemen chapter Wednesday morning that they cannot have a booth at the annual airshow Saturday after an immigrant rights activist threatened to stage a protest.

      “This is a distraction big time to the airshow,” said Randy Banks, president of the Victor Valley Airshow Association.

      The patriotic family event, which runs from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hesperia Airport, will include aerobatic events, an attempt to set a Guinness World Record by forming the largest human American flag, and vendor booths.

      The Desert Cities Minutemen will not be among those booths, after Banks e-mailed the group’s director Wednesday morning to cancel her reservation and offer a refund.

      The airshow association acted quickly after receiving a protest threat from Hesperia activist Jennaya Dunlap from the national Immigrant Solidarity Network that same morning, Banks said.

      “We made a bad decision,” he said of the association’s decision to rent a booth to the Minutemen, a national activist group that stages border patrols and protests against illegal immigrants.

      Banks said the airshow association just wants to keep the focus on the family-oriented event.

      “If it would be people who like chocolate who were going to protest because we didn’t have chocolate there, we wouldn’t want them there,” he said.

      Linda Kienle, director of the Desert Cities Minutemen, was still upset.

      “Why are we as Americans a disruption for a patriotic event,” she said. “We’re simply peaceful protesters trying to inform the people of this country what is happening in this country.”

      Raymond Herrera, national rally spokesman for the Minutemen, said he supports the airshow association’s decision.

      “It’s for the good of the public that the airshow go on,” he said.

      Siu Hin Lee, director of the Immigrant Solidarity Network in Los Angeles, said he will e-mail activists to let them know they no longer need to protest. The protest was planned by an individual activist, not the Network, Lee said.

      The airshow organizers made a good decision when they canceled the Minutemen booth, Lee said, but “the airshow never should have invited them in the first place.”

      The Victor Valley Airshow Association’s Web site is vvasa.com.

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