Anti-abortion protesters coming to Lake Zurich

Published: 9/9/2010 4:08 PM

The Pro-Life Action League says it will stage a protest in Lake Zurich on Wednesday, but will not meet with the village's police chief beforehand, as requested.

However, Chief Patrick Finlon said he received the information he wanted from the protesters through a letter sent to him about the event, and he will not need to meet with organizers of "truth tour" set for 9 a.m. at routes 12 and 22.

"I was specifically looking for the number of participants they intended to have at the protest, which they answered inside the letter," Finlon said. "I would still prefer to sit down and speak with them beforehand, but I don't think that will happen."

The letter sent by attorneys for the Pro-Life Action League to Finlon and other village officials requests that police protect the 25 to 60 protesters during the planned pro-life demonstration. It stated they will not meet with Finlon before the event because of their First Amendment right to hold the gathering.

This issue flared up following a July 15 protest in which nearly 100 members of the group assembled at the same intersection and disrupted traffic flow by frequently entering the roadway to engage motorists, Finlon said.

Finlon said protesters also went to a private parking lot to place literature on vehicle windshields, and confronted a business owner who didn't want the protest taking place in front of his store.

He said the Lake Zurich Chamber of Commerce fielded numerous complaints about the Pro-Life protest, and he was understaffed to protect protesters because he was unaware that more than 100 people would attend the event.

Pro-Life Action League officials have said protesters were not disruptive and did not intentionally stop traffic during the July protest.

"This time, I wanted to know how many protesters they expected so we could have more officers on hand," Finlon said. "We will have a command officer and other police officers out there the day of the protest to monitor the situation. Not because I think anyone will do anything wrong, but just for everyone's safety."

Finlon also said the Lake Zurich Chamber of Commerce has been notified of the protest, and the group will alert local businesses.

"I trust our officers on the scene will take any appropriate action when necessary, should any problems arise," he said. "The letter from the Pro-Life Action League said it will be a lawful protest, and I'm taking them at their word."