Three protesters arrested at State Fair Country Ham Breakfast
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ham, politics -- and arrests -- were all a part of the day at the Kentucky State Fair Thursday.
A group of activists came to the Kentucky Farm Bureau country ham breakfast to draw attention to their cause. They succeeded when three were arrested.
"We're here because we have a concern. We were not intending to be arrested," said long time LGBT activist Carla Wallace as she was placed in a police cruiser.
State Police arrested the demonstrators, identified by the ACLU as Wallace, the Fairness Campaign's Chris Hartman, and Sonja DeVries, after they stood in silent protest during the Farm Bureau's annual Country Ham Breakfast.
"There was no real ask for us to disperse. They just kind of descended on the table. They should have asked us to disperse, and we were ready to disperse at that time. Unfortunately, that's not how it went down," said Michael Aldridge of the Kentucky ACLU.
The three were part of an earlier protest outside the event.
The Fairness Campaign, the ACLU and the Jefferson Co. Teachers Association are engaged in an ongoing dispute with the Farm Bureau over its conservative policies on issues such as same sex marriage, abortion and the death penalty.
"We're out here to make certain that all Kentuckians know the Kentucky Farm Bureau promotes discrimination," said Hartman prior to his arrest.
Police say they warned the activists not to take their protest inside. They were charged with failure to disperse, a misdemeanor. Hartman was also charged with disorderly conduct.
In a statement, the Farm Bureau said, "We are very disappointed that any group would attempt to disrupt a charity auction."
The breakfast attracts politicians of every stripe. Most we talked to before the arrests defended the Farm Bureau.
"Nonsense. That's my reaction. That's my reaction," said Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin.
"I don't happen to agree with every group on everything, but the Farm Bureau does play an important role in Kentucky agriculture," Gov. Steve Beshear told WDRB.
Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville was the only one siding with the protesters in questioning Farm Bureau positions.
"It's just kind of something that, to me, tarnishes what is otherwise a very fine organization," he said.
The three were taken to Metro Corrections and later released.
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