Friday, January 02, 2009

"St. Pete for Peace" Blamed for Upsurge in Crime at St Pete Baywalk, They Called USA Iraq War Vet..Terrorist, Nazi ! Leader Chris Ernesto Arrested.

Crime rap drains St Pete BayWalk's crowds, "St Pete for Peace" Blamed, group leader Chris Ernesto no comment. ST. PETERSBURG 12/22/2008 — Christmas at BayWalk was not merry last year. A series of shootings and brawls among a large crowd of teens in and around the downtown entertainment complex ended with one person wounded, several pepper-sprayed and many arrests. The melee further cemented the perception that crime and loitering at BayWalk was out of control.

Some of the groups blamed for St Pete BayWalk's decline (St Pete for Peace a true oxymoron) insist they have little to do with the violence at the entertainment complex.

Chris Ernesto, 45, an organizer for "St. Pete for Peace" , (click here and here for his arrest info), a group that sponsors weekly protests (Pro -Palestinian Gaza Rally scheduled for 1/03/09 at 7:30 pm, odd time for a "peace protest"), said the media have inaccurately linked BayWalk's decline with "peaceful" antiwar demonstrations. He declined to comment further...... All information on Chris Ernesto and his group "St Pete for Peace" was obtained from Public Records and/or statements made by same.

St Pete for Peace" rally, Support the People of Gaza! Saturday, Jan. 3, 7:30pm(*note earlier time*)2nd Ave. and 2nd St., N, St. Petersburg (map). As an occupying force, Israel is attempting to justify killing more than 400 Palestinians--a quarter of which are civilian--because of homemade rocket attacks "that killed two Israelis in the past 12 months" (lie). Palestinians are legally allowed to resist an occupying force. The initial Israeli attack occurred while thousands of Palestinian children were walking home from school (lie).

The Israeli Air Force is targeting Hamas terrorists in Gaza, not children, see my prior post, Militant Hamas leader Nizar Rayan killed in Gaza air strike, Rayan had advocated renewing suicide bombings inside Israel.

"People don't like going through the intimidation of walking through a picket line or a demonstration of St Pete for Peace," "It makes people uncomfortable. "If the adults would come back to BayWalk, the kids would go away," said Mike Shapiro of Shapiro's art gallery. "If there are a lot of adults here, kids don't want to be here." On a recent evening, it seemed both teens and adults had opted to stay away. The complex's half-empty restaurants and vacant storefronts set a serene scene.

July 3rd 2006..Chris Ernesto, 45, As an organizer of the group St. Pete for Peace, Ernesto helps lead frequent marches in protest of the Iraq war. Last year, the group displayed an American flag with the words "Torturers" on one side and "War Mongers" on the other side at the Fourth of July celebration at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. "I'm personally ashamed of the flag at this juncture in American history," he says. "It stands for oppression. Lack of freedom. Lack of democracy. People speak of freedom but are told we can't write on the flag."

ST. PETERSBURG August 10, 2005..Peace group wants barriers out; "St. Pete for Peace" maintains the barricades outside BayWalk infringe on free speech rights. Marshaling forces in response to the arrest of six protesters, the antiwar group St. Pete for Peace on Tuesday demanded the removal of barricades at BayWalk and may sue the city or the entertainment hub's owner on free speech grounds.

"Who does the St. Pete Police Department work for, the Sembler Co. or the citizens of St. Pete?" local attorney Mark Kamleiter said.

Standing at Second Ave N and Second Street, the group portrayed Saturday night's arrests as part of a broader effort to stifle dissent in favor of business interests and a squeaky clean downtown image. "We will not give up the public sidewalks that are paid for by all of the citizens of St. Petersburg," Winnie Foster said, fanning herself with a copy of the Constitution.

A few motorists were not impressed. "Losers," one man called out. On the balcony of Dish, a BayWalk restaurant, several children stood with an adult and called out, "George Bush. George Bush." "Right on people, yell out," responded St. Pete for Peace organizer Chris Ernesto, (click here for his Hillsborough County arrest report and click here for his Pinellas County arrest report). "Let your voices be heard." All free speech deserves support, he said, even if he disagrees.

The arrests came about 8:30 p.m. Saturday when police say a 13-year-old boy obstructed the sidewalk. Then a man was arrested. When police put the two in a van, demonstrators locked hands to prevent it from leaving. Four more people were arrested, including two 16-year-olds and Ernesto, 41.

"St. Pete for Peace", which has come to BayWalk for more than two (five now) years, said the trouble began when the city put up barricades last month. Officials said they were for pedestrian safety and to accommodate the group. "St. Pete for Peace" said it would do the same, pledging to return this Saturday and every Saturday until the war is over.

But some say the group, for all its talk about free speech, has been antagonistic toward those with other views. Guy Cote, a middle school teacher in Tampa who was at BayWalk July 30 to watch Wedding Crashers, said a man asked him if he'd been to Iraq after noticing the Operation Iraqi Freedom T-shirt he wore. Cote said no, but that his brother had just returned from a yearlong tour.

"He called my brother a terrorist ... and a Nazi," Cote said. "He said they're killing innocent people over there and he wished my brother came home in a body bag." Cote, 36, said he told an officer he wanted to press charges of harassment against the protester. The officer, Cote said, replied that he should complain to the mayor's office. He did.

"I fully understand the freedom of speech and support the freedom of speech," he said Tuesday. "But that does not give people the right to harass others."
Ernesto said he hadn't heard of the incident (he is at every protest), but added, "We don't want any Americans killed or any Iraqis killed."

Published 12.19.2007 Synopsis: If you're searching for the youngest, most radical group of protesters, look no further than St. Pete for Peace. This truly diverse crowd of Democrats, anarchists and tin-foil-hat conspiracy theorists has lined downtown's most consumerist corner for nearly six years. And though the protesters haven't succeeded in ending the war, the trials faced by St. Pete for Peace -- including arrests and violence -- have paved the way for free speech rights in the Sunshine City.

Of course, some of the "St Pete for Peace" protesters like to push those rights to the limit, like one fellow with a sign declaring, "The troops are murderers." The sentiment inspires numerous polo-shirt-wearing passersby to threaten the group with violence. "I've served this country and you're not Americans," one man slurs as his girlfriend tries to hold him back. "I have served this country! What have you done?!"

He ends up pushing one of the protesters into the street before leaving.
"We may not get the numbers that we want,"
says Chris Ernesto, 45, "but if rhetoric against Iran escalates, people will know where to come."

Mr. Chris Ernesto appears to be Pro-Iran and Anti American while living in St Pete Fl, he and the "St Pete for Peace" group sure appear to be a candidates for FBI investigation, which I'm sure they already are.

Bill Warner
private investigator