Green Party Senate candidate arrested at Democratic rally
Medea Benjamin Frustrated by Lack of Media Coverage
KAREN GAUDETTE / AP 7nov00
SAN FRANCISCO -- A Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate and two of her aides were arrested by San Francisco police Monday night at a Democratic rally as they clamored at the stage for a chance to speak.
Medea Benjamin; her campaign manager, Jane Brashares; and fund-raiser Marla Ruzicka were arrested for investigation of trespassing and resisting arrest at the Delancy Street Town Hall, which is private property, said police Lt. Louis Cassanego.
Cassanego said the women attempted to get onstage and yelled during speeches. They were released less than an hour later.
Benjamin, who is running against Democratic incumbent Dianne Feinstein and Republican Tom Campbell, said she and other Greens are frustrated by the lack of media access they have had throughout the campaign.
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader was barred from attending the first presidential debate, told he was an ``uninvited guest'' although he carried a ticket. Though their numbers are growing, Green candidates do not currently receive federal election funding, which affects their ability to make an impact on the airwaves.
``I think it's a sorry state for a democracy that third party candidates are so shut out and so frustrated by a lack of democracy that we have to do this kind of thing,'' Benjamin said after she was released.
``I'm a serious candidate, I've been doing work on foreign policy and domestic issues for 25 years ... I was asked by Ralph Nader to run but I just feel that I've been blocked out by Dianne Feinstein's refusal to debate or campaign.''
Benjamin was excluded from last month's series of televised debates between Feinstein and Campbell, though she has twice debated Campbell. Her recent attempts to garner media attention have included attacks on Feinstein's hairstyle as well as protests at her campaign events.
Feinstein's campaign manager, Kam Kuwata, said Benjamin has already received more attention than is warranted given her standing in the polls. A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California gave Benjamin 3 percent of the vote.
``I don't think because you put your name on the ballot you're given the automatic right to go and disrupt other peoples' campaign events,'' Kuwata said Monday night.
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