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'Patriots for Freedom' denied permit to block Boxwood Boulevard for rally

The “Patriots for Freedom” won’t be free to block Boxwood Boulevard for a rally Nov. 15.

The group loosely affiliated with area “tea parties” that protest government spending had planned to have bands playing and people speaking 1-4 p.m. that Sunday. To get set up for the event, it wanted Boxwood closed 9 a.m.-5 p.m. between Macon Road and Midtown Drive. So it applied to the Columbus Police Department for a permit. And the police said no.

Why?

Because closing the road would block the primary route into a residential area back behind the Columbus Public Library, police said.

The man who applied for the permit, Charles Wells, disagreed, saying motorists could use Midtown Drive to circumvent the Patriots for Freedom. “It don’t affect nobody,” Wells said Tuesday as he appealed to Columbus Council.

He said the Patriots for Freedom aren’t putting on a “tea party” to protest the federal government, though the two groups often interact: “We participate with them and they participate with us.”

The tea parties have been held on the Columbus Government Center’s south side on weekends, where few passersby see them, he said. The Patriots for Freedom wanted a more prominent place for its demonstration.The mayor and council suggested Wells find a more suitable spot. “I just feel like you’ve selected the wrong place for the tea party,” said Mayor Jim Wetherington,

Wells said the Patriots for Freedom differ from tea partiers in that they focus on recruiting candidates for local office. Tea parties are held to protest the federal government, he said.

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