[Big Sandy, WY] - Attendees at the annual Rainbow Gathering have once
again been the target of brutal law enforcement tactics this past week
as they gathered in the Bridger National Forest in southwestern Wyoming.
The violent tactics, which have injured several adults and children,
include the shooting of pepper spray bullets, pointing guns at children,
and repeatedly tasering a man who was handcuffed.
The Rainbow Family of Living Light is a loose network of individuals who
gather every year in the national forest to pray for peace, commune with
nature, and visit with friends. Every year, the U.S. Forest Service
(USFS) increases its attempts to disrupt and cause violence at the
Rainbow Family's peaceful gatherings. This year's Gathering was no
The pepper bullet incident occurred around 7:00pm on Thursday, July 3
when about a dozen USFS federal agents surrounded a meadow where
Rainbows were enjoying the day. For reasons unknown, they zeroed in on a
male member of the crowd, who went into the woods towards Kiddie
Village, an area of the Gathering filled with children. USFS agents
followed the man into Kiddie Village, where they apprehended him. As the
man was being arrested, one concerned woman tried asking the feds what
the man had done. The feds refused to answer, and instead viciously
threw the woman to the ground and pulled her head back by her hair while
she was being handcuffed. This caused panic among the other campers, who
called for the Rainbows own crisis intervention and peace-keeping team
to come from the main circle. As the feds retreated with the two campers
in custody, they were followed up the hill by about 100-200 concerned
Rainbows. In these situations, Rainbows are trained to call out calming
suggestions for peace and order like "Stay calm." and "Give 'em room."
Elders told the campers to keep "cameras in front and people in back" to
prevent the Forest Service from feeling threatened.
Despite this, the feds then opened fire with 20-30 bursts of pepper
spray bullets at random into the crowd, injuring both adults and
children, and hitting one man in the face. There are also reports that
the feds used rubber bullets and that one federal agent pointed his gun
at several children and a baby.
link to www.jacksonholestartrib.com
The USFS called in for reinforcements, who showed up with M16 rifles and
scared the campers from asking any more questions. The feds say that the
campers threw "sticks and rocks" at them during the incident. This has
not been substantiated. However, this excuse is used every year by the
feds as part of their propaganda campaign against the Rainbows to
justify their harsh tactics. In Colorado in 2006, the feds also accused
the Rainbows of throwing sticks and stones, but video evidence later
proved that this was a lie.
Another violent incident occurred around 2pm on July 2 when the feds
tasered a man while handcuffed. The incident occurred in a parking area,
when a man was moving a car from one parking space to another. He was
asked by USFS agents to get out of his car, but he did not respond. The
agents then roughly removed him from the vehicle, tasered him twice and
handcuffed him. Witnesses report that he was then tasered 5 to 7 more
times while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground.
Since the Gathering started on July 1, the feds have cited hundreds of
people for minor infractions of the law. Almost every vehicle entering
the site has been searched, and gatherers are routinely harassed and
intimidated. Campers have been charged with dirty license plates,
failure to use a turn signal on a 4WD dirt road, and having objects
dangling from their rear view mirror.
The Gathering will continue through this weekend, and campers will be
onsite to cleanup the area until at least the middle of July. Campers
are encouraging concerned citizens to contact the USFS and ask them to
stop harassing peaceful campers and wasting taxpayer dollars.
Write, call or email to express your outrage at the actions of the USFS:
1400 Independence Ave. SW, 217-E
Washington, DC 20250
USFS Chief Gail Kimbell
Call the Wyoming Representatives and Senators
* Sen. John Barrasso (R)
* Sen. Michael Enzi (R)
* Rep. Barbara Cubin (R)
And your own reps in DC
Capitol Switchboard TOLL-FREE:
Click here for directions to the Wyoming Gathering: