Austin, Texas December 21, 2012: Acclaimed Arctic peace activist Kris Kringle, better known to the world as Santa Claus, was arrested early this afternoon at the Texas State Capitol. Claus was arrested while chalking Christmas wishes for the world, offered by children and other holiday merry makers. "Today I saw the jolly red elf at the Capitol, cheerfully requesting that children write their wishes for a better world in chalk on the sidewalk. Santa said his favorite word was "Community." Various children wrote words like "Peace," "Friendship" and "Grace," said Occupy Austin's Lainie Duro, a witness to the arrest. After wrestling Santa to the ground and placing handcuffs on him, activists also arrested Corey Elf after he used sidewalk chalk to write "Free Santa." Both were arrested for Criminal Mischief, while Santa may face additional resisting arrest charges. Occupy Austin stands in solidarity with Santa Claus and his elf. Three members of Occupy Austin, Audrey Steiner, Corey Williams, and Jim Bird were arrested earlier in 2012 for chalk. Though they were held in Travis County Jail, they have not been charged with any crime, raising questions about whether Troopers are arresting activists to silence them. Occupy Austin believes that the use of washable sidewalk chalk is constitutionally protected free speech, and several previous court rulings agree. The organization demands that the Texas State Preservation Board respect the free speech rights of chalkers, and that State Troopers halt arrests immediately. Occupy Austin called for a Free Santa Rally to begin at 6pm at the Travis County Jail (500 W. 10th St) and to continue until Santa Claus and Corey Elf are released. "DPS has overstepped all boundaries today and I will stand and wait for Santa. I hope he's out quick, I hear he still has a lot to do to get ready for Tuesday," said another witness, Christopher Michael, a member of the Occupy Your Capitol group. About Santa Claus Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle, is an internationally known child welfare and world peace activist. With the help of his many elves, Santa delivers gifts to good children all over the world while cultivating a sense of global togetherness and love. His busiest night, Christmas Eve, is just around the corner. About Occupy Austin Occupy Austin is a standing protest against the unjust and harmful power of large corporations over the world's economic and political systems and against threats to civil liberties and democracy at home and abroad. Our Occupation began on October 6, 2011 and continues to hold marches and events throughout the city.
Produced/Edited for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala. Filmed by Michael King Lainie Duro. A ZGraphix production. http://zgraphix.org Photos and video footage are available. For interviews, more information or photos and other media contact: Chris Michael, 512santa at gmail dot com http://occupyaustin.org/