Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist and his co-author Jerome Corsi dispute a Reuters report of their book-tour kickoff at Ground Zero in New York City that implied the citizen border-watch group provoked a physical confrontation with protesters.
The second paragraph of a Reuters story by Michelle Nichols said Minuteman members “pushed and shoved members of an immigrant rights group that showed up at the event.”
In fact, Gilchrist told WND, it was the radical activist group that launched an assault while he was answering questions from the media. The group of about 125 broke through a police barrier across the street and pushed and shoved members of Gilchrist’s entourage, including his wife, before police intervened.
A handful of New York City police officers, trying to protect Gilchrist and his colleagues, quickly whisked them away in cabs.
Gilchrist and Corsi are authors of “Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America’s Border”, described as a first-hand account of how the nation’s southern border has disintegrated into a “Wild West of human trafficking, drug smuggling and violent gangs.”
Corsi called the Reuters report a “distortion,” insisting that if there was any pushing and shoving by Minuteman members, it was done in an attempt to avoid getting knocked down by the protesters flooding in from across the street.
“There was a little bit of screaming,” Corsi said by telephone on his way to from New York City to Washington. “Once we were out of the area everything diffused right away.”
The Reuters reporter could not be reached for comment.
Gilchrist, also on his way to the nation’s capital, said that prior to the event he came across an e-mail from a coalition of groups that planned to protest his appearance Wednesday.
One of the e-mail’s authors is Teresa Gutierrez of the New York City-based May 1st Coalition, who also is co-director of the radical anti-war group A.N.S.W.E.R. and was a candidate for president in 2004 representing the socialist Workers World Party.
Messages on the protesters’ signs Wednesday included, “Racist MinuteKlan out of NYC.”
Gilchrist said the attack Wednesday literally took the microphone out of his hands, stifling his First Amendment free-speech rights.
“I’m getting so tired of it,” he said. “I’m ready to go to Congress to insist they pass legislation to stop the intimidation of the First Amendment.”
While protesters have a right to assemble, he argued, they don’t have a right to “call out their hostile forces to attack Minutemen.”
“I thought I couldn’t be attacked without criminal liability,” he said. “I’m going to see my congressman. If there’s no legislation [under which] Gutierrez can be prosecuted, I will spearhead legislation myself.”
In addition to his own representative, Republican Rep. John Campbell of California, Gilchrist said he plans to make appointments to see Rep. Tom Tancredo, Re-Colo., J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., and other like-minded lawmakers to “stop this chaos and abuse of our First Amendment.”