Today, as I stood outside St Paul’s handing out information, I was approached by two of their security guards, two big guys, who stood in front of me and told me that I was on public property and did I have a permit. Believe me, this was not said nicely; it was said in a tone and manner that I felt to be very threatening. One guy told the other to contact ? (I didn’t catch who they were phoning), as far as I knew it was the police, athough I wish they had been called. I was very confused because I knew that I didn’t need a permit. I thought they mean’t that I was not allowed to have my things on St. Paul’s property so I moved my papers and petition off the ledge and put them on the sidewalk and said “I am on public property, now get the hell out of my face”. They did not move, they didn’t explain what they were doing, just continued with their phone call and I felt as if I was about to be thrown in jail or charged with some crime although I had no idea what that would be.
A few minutes later they walked up the street and talked to someone. This person then walked towards me and told me that he had explained to the security guards that I was on public property and that I had a right to be there, and they didn’t know that. It would appear that he was their supervisor, although he never introduced himself. He did have the courtesy to apologize but then said “no harm done”. Well, there was harm done. When you threaten someone, when you treat them like a criminal, when you demand information you have no right to demand, especially when the person has done nothing wrong, there is harm done. And I am sure the people walking by thought I had done something wrong by the way I was being treated.
The three boys made a rapid retreat into St. Paul’s Hospital.