Protesters released as activists gather

April 9, 2008 12:09:34 PM PDT
The pro-Tibet activists arrested for climbing the Golden Gate Bridge were released overnight from jail.

The pro-Tibet activists who climbed the Golden Gate Bridge were released at 1:00 am this morning. Hannah Strange of Oakland, Duane Martinez and Laurel Sutherlin of Sausalito, walked out of the San Francisco jail saying it was worth it and plan on joining today's protests. They were all charged with misdemeanor crimes for climbing the bridge. Bridge authorities say they take security breaches very seriously but the protesters said it was actually pretty simple to pull off.

"We wouldn't have looked suspicious at all crossing the bridge, we had a baby stroller and other things and from the moment that we reached our hands out to the cable - to when we were out of reach, was probably 90 seconds, I don't know how they could have stopped us actually, they would had to have been awfully quick" said Laurel Sutherlin, Pro-Tibet activist.

"We were on the scene within two minutes and we had to assess the situation very quickly and decided if deadly force was required, certainly in this case we determined that it wasn't required, however it is an option and people need to know that deadly force is an option when they trespass and do something unsafe on the bridge," said Mary Currie, Golden Gate Bridge spokesperson.

The activists tell ABC7NEWS that at 8:30 this morning, they've been instructed to appear in court. The four other protesters who helped the climbers were also released from jail; they tell us all charges were dropped against them.

The activists have been getting their message out in the city all week. Last night 1,500 people gathered at UN Plaza in San Francisco after a day of marching. Speakers urged the demonstrators to get their message out this week, especially today - peacefully.

FULL COVERAGE: SF Olympic Torch Run

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View video taken by Students for a Free Tibet of the Golden Gate Bridge protest here.

For Olympic Torch schedule and information, including street closures and the six-mile route through San Francisco, click here.

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