Occupy protestors disrupted one pro-life prayer event in the nation’s capital this past weekend, but they also aggressively disrupted a pro-life event in Providence, Rhode Island to the point that it couldn’t be completed.
Yesterday, pro-life advocates in the New England state witnessed a chilling assault on civil speech as members of Occupy Providence, joined by members of Occupy Wall Street, marched to the Rhode Island State House from their camp in Burnside Park to disrupt the 39th Annual Pro-Life State House Rally organized by the Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee.
Roughly two-dozen Occupiers fanned out amongst the crowd of more than 150 pro-lifers — joined by more than a dozen pro-life legislators — who had gathered to memorialize the 54 million unborn babies who have lost their lives to legal abortion since 1973. Once all their members had cleared through the security checkpoint, the Occupiers began jostling pro-life attendees, crowding the podium, holding up signs in the faces or over the heads of the scheduled pro-life speakers, heckling, and chanting.
The Occupiers prevented Rhode Island Right to Life director Barth Bracy from delivering the bulk of his keynote address and would not even allow the Rev. Fr. Bernard Healey, executive director of the Rhode Island Catholic Conference, to lead a closing prayer.
“The Occupiers claim to represent the 99%. Apparently they have missed the news that over half of Americans consider themselves pro-life,” Bracy told LifeNews. “Like many people, I haven’t yet been able to figure out exactly what the Occupiers stand for. Their actions today indicate that they stand for abortion and oppose the pro-life movement.”
“Rather than follow the example of legitimate reform leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Aung San Suu Kyi, or of the 1986 People Power Movement of the Philippines, the Occupiers have adopted the thug-tactics of Benito Mussolini’s Black Shirts,” Bracy said.
“It is a sobering reality that approximately 23% of Rhode Island pregnancies end in abortion. The Occupiers would do well to reflect on the fact that, like us, they are each part of the 77%, that is, those who have been spared the abortionist’s knife,” Bracy continued. “Even as we deplore the behavior of the hoodlums who disrupted our peaceful assembly, the Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee invites them to join us in putting an end to the slaughter.”
Previously, Occupy Washington attempted to surround and overwhelm a group of prayerful pro-life advocates in front of the Supreme Court.
For the last nine years, CEC For Life has sponsored a prayer vigil for unborn babies on the morning of the March for Life. Opposition from pro-abortion advocates is always expected, but often minimal. This year, however, CEC For Life found themselves quickly surrounded by a much larger and far more hostile group than usual, according to Fr. Terry Gensemer of the organization.
Gensemer said that, as those leading the prayer vigil began to invite pro-life advocates to join in worship, those with the pro-abortion opposition positioned themselves inches away from the musicians, chanting, screaming, and dragging a ten-foot banner between the team and those trying to pray and worship.
One member of the pro-abortion force actually spent an extended amount of time screaming into the face of an adopted child whose sign read: “I’m glad I was adopted and not murdered.”