Activists Target Parking Meters, Putting Town 'on Edge'
Libertarians make waves with the Free Keene movement
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2014 4:55 PM CDT
Keene, New Hampshire.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – Libertarians in the small city of Keene, New Hampshire, are expressing their anger—by pestering parking enforcement officers and feeding meters before $5 tickets can be written. To be fair, they have other ways (like distributing leaflets and pretending to drink alcohol at City Hall meetings), but tensions over parking meters have put the Free Keene movement on the political map, the New York Times reports. Some residents have expressed gratitude and even made donations, but harassment allegations and litigation have followed as well. "It's not comfortable anymore," says a local nurse and beekeeper. "Everyone's on edge."

Like most of the movement's two dozen activists, Ian Freeman came from somewhere else (Florida, in his case) to promote libertarianism in the state that boasts "Live Free or Die" on its license plates. He has also been arrested several times—once for allegedly obtaining multiple ID's from the DMV, Patch.com reports—and supports activists with video cameras who bait parking enforcement officers with comments about their faith or military service. "If it’s too stressful, maybe it’s not the right job for you," says Freeman, who broadcasts a Free Talk Live radio show. His brand of activism has also inspired the Stop Free Keene!!! Facebook page, whose organizers are handing out leaflets of their own. As one organizer put it, "Who asked you to come free us?"