Protests heat up as arrest made
By Jesse Phelps
Ojai resident Mac Lojowski took
his message to the streets, literally, on Monday, after hearing
the new intentions of President George W. Bush to proceed with
the war on Iraq. Lojowski, with a bird cage containing an American
flag and a hand-made sign with the words, "Wake the (expletive)
Up! America's problems won't be solved in Iraq," staged
a one-man sit-in in the middle of Ojai Avenue between the Arcade
and Libby Park for roughly half an hour before he was hauled
away by police.
Passing motorists hailed or jeered Lojowski in various ways as
detectives on scene attempted to persuade him to move out of
the road. Some flipped him the thumbs-up, others another finger,
another direction. A passing student began a "No War!"
chant. An older gentleman commented, "Why don't you go protest
One woman thanked the arresting officers as they put Lojowski
in the squad car, saying, "Thanks, officers, for getting
him off the street with that profanity."
Seated for several minutes, unobstructed, Lojowski was finally
confronted by a pair of detectives who pulled their car into
the median in front of him. "Keep moving," said Detective
Joe Evans to the seated Lojowski. "What's it gonna help?
I mean, you could sit on the sidewalk all day long and show your
sign to a lot more motorists for a lot longer than if you're
"I'm not moving," Lojowski responded, eyes straight
ahead. "It's my street as much as it's anybody's street.
I don't believe the streets are only for the cars, I believe
they're for the people."
"There's laws against you sitting in the middle of the road,"
"I'm prepared to face the consequences of those laws,"
"It sounds like you're pretty set on making your statement,"
Evans eventually replied after more back and forth. "Good
for you. I kind of applaud that. I wish you'd do it in a little
bit better way so you get a better statement across."
Shortly thereafter, a black and white arrived and within minutes,
Lojowski was cuffed, dragged, and secured.
Before the police interceded, Lojowski explained the rationale
behind his methods. "This afternoon the United States decided
that they were no longer gonna go through the united nations
to seek approval," he said. "Actually this is a very
bad decision and a very undemocratic one and I believe that this
is an unjust war."
Evans said the arrest was based solely on Lojowski's location
in the middle of the road. "His right to protest is without
a question. He can do that. But he just can't jeopardize other
people's lives by parking in the street."
Lojowski said he wanted to take his protest to the next level
because, "They define the terms of the debate, those in
power. I'm trying to go beyond the avenues that have been set
up for us. Standing on the sidewalk, petition writing, none of
it matters. Bush has an agenda that he's carrying out regardless
of the world of people and I feel it's important to create a
crisis such as we're doing here. I see the violence that George
Bush is perpetrating on the people of Iraq as, you know, a bigger
terrorist threat than any regime currently presents."
The Ojai Valley News
to the news
POLICE, including Sgt. Ken Edling, Deputy Todd Bell and Detective
Rick Jones place protester Mac Lojowski under arrest Monday afternoon.