Idao Statesman: Boise Christian activist Brandi Swindell detained after protest in China
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* Video: American Demonstrators Confronted by Police in Beijing
* Video:Protest in Tiananmen Square
BY HEATH DRUZIN AND BETHANN STEWART - email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Edition Date: 08/07/08
Boise Christian activist Brandi Swindell and two other Americans were confronted and questioned by Chinese authorities Wednesday in Beijing's Tiananmen Square after protesting religious repression.
The protesters went to the infamous square and unfurled a banner that read in English and Chinese, "Jesus Christ is King," according to the Rev. Rob Schenck, who helped organize the protest.
Swindell said she is in China to raise awareness of the Chinese government's religious persecution and human rights abuses.
"In our hearts we were saying, 'This is our message,' ... but that banner could have spoken for the Falun Gong or the Tibetans ... that spirit of being able to speak the truth must be embraced in China," Swindell said.
She is accompanied by fellow Idahoan Michael McMonagle and the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition.
After the group unfurled the banner, Mahoney decried the Tiananmen Square massacre, during which hundreds of Chinese were killed in 1989 in a government crackdown.
They held the banner for about 45 minutes, Swindell said.
A plainclothes officer failed to convince them to leave. More officers arrived and tried to obscure the banner with open umbrellas, Swindell said.
Schenck said the officers then started prodding the protesters with the umbrellas, marched them out of the square and questioned them for about an hour before releasing them.
"It's a simple sacrifice compared to what the Chinese people go through," Swindell said.
Swindell's trip to China was funded by the National Clergy Council, of which Schenck is founder and president.
The protesters plan to return to Tiananmen Square on Thursday for a prayer vigil and press conference, Swindell said.