IDAHO FALLS Five people have been arrested in eastern Idaho for stenciling anti-war messages on city stop signs, prompting a pacifist group to form and encourage less-destructive forms of protest.
Three minors and two adults Craig Bakker, 19, and Alexander Piet, 18 were arrested recently for defacing the signs in Idaho Falls.
Numerous signs warning drivers to halt at an intersection were hit by the vandals, so that instead of merely telling people to "Stop," they read "Stop War."
Bakker and Piet were originally charged with felonies but now face misdemeanors and likely restitution payments to Idaho Falls to remedy the damage. The minors have been referred to juvenile court.
After the ubiquitous anti-war messages confronted drivers across in this city, two people, Tina Moore and Brad Strand, decided to get involved but in a less destructive way.
At a meeting they helped organize inside an Idaho Falls Unitarian Church Friday, they described how they printed T-shirts with an image of the "Stop War" signs.
Proceeds from sales will help the defendants pay their legal bills. The duo sends e-mails to people who share their opinions, about 150. They didn't say how many they've sold so far.
"Let's actually do something about it," Moore, 43, said she told the 46-year-old Strand, after hearing about the vandals' arrests.
The group led by the pair they're now calling themselves the Snake River Freedom Coalition says they hope the anti-war vandalism incident inspires people to protest the injustice of America's invasion of Iraq in ways that don't damage city property.
Strand and Moore say there's a right way and a wrong way to dissent. Damaging the stop signs merits punishment.
As an alternative, the pair are promoting an anti-war rally next week in Idaho Falls, a city whose conservative attitude, they lament, is less likely to question the morality of war.
Lukas Perry, one of about 20 members who have joined the group, believes people his age from eastern Idaho have long wanted to do something against the war if only they knew how.
Perry's motivation, he says, is "to make people think."