Veterans drag protester away from governor

Gov. Susana Martinez begins her speech at the Veterans Day Ceremony Monday morning. Shortly after, she was interrupted by a man yelling "abortion" who was escorted off stage by a group of veterans. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Gov. Susana Martinez begins her speech at the Veterans Day Ceremony Monday morning. Shortly after, she was interrupted by a man yelling “abortion” who was escorted off stage by a group of veterans. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

FOR THE RECORD: This story incorrectly reported that Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry was on the stage during Gov. Susana Martinez’s Veterans Day speech, which was interrupted by an abortion protester. Perry was in the audience. He spoke onstage after the governor, according to Breanna Anderson, the city’s deputy director of communications.

A man yelling “abortion” at the top of his lungs interrupted Gov. Susana Martinez’s speech at the New Mexico Veterans Ceremony at the Veterans War Memorial on Monday morning and was hauled off stage by a cohort of veterans.

Rob Perry, Albuquerque’s chief administrative officer, who was on stage with the governor at the time, said the man approached the governor with a sign at the beginning of her speech, got onstage and stood there for about 20 seconds before a group of older veterans from the audience escorted him out.

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“He was certainly agitated, confrontational and on the edge of violence,” Perry said. “I think everyone in the audience thought it was disrespectful.”

The man’s sign read “Ban Late Term Abortion,” according to KOAT-TV.

Albuquerque voters will decide next Tuesday whether the city will ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, igniting contentious debate between opposing sides. Early voting on the measure is under way.

Perry said the governor’s security didn’t jump in until after the group of about eight veterans grabbed the man. The man was about 15 feet from the governor and his shouts of “abortion” could be heard even after he was escorted from the venue.

New Mexico State Police spokesman Emmanuel Gutierrez said the man hadn’t been arrested and police did not ask for his identity.

“He didn’t directly rush the governor, so he wasn’t really a threat,” Gutierrez said. “If he was a ways from the governor and wasn’t rushing at her, there’s really nothing we can do.”

A Governor’s Office spokesman said State Police handle security for the governor and couldn’t comment on security policies.

Journal photographer Roberto E. Rosales contributed to this report.

 

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