Egyptian-American progressive activist Mona Eltahaway was arrested in New York on Tuesday after spray painting over both a pro-Israel Subway advertisement and anti-jihadist blogger Pamela Hall, who tried to block the pink-clad Eltahaway from destroying the poster.
“I am not violating it [free speech], I am making an expression on free speech,” Eltahaway said as the bizarre encounter was being recorded.
“I think this is freedom of expression, just like this [sign] is freedom of expression,” she said, before cursing at the camera-wielding Hall and continuing to paint over the words.
Eltahaway, whose Twitter account describes her as “a columnist and a blogger on Arab and Muslim issues,” has a blog which highlights her talking-head appearances on CNN, BBC and Canada’s CBC.
Shortly after saying she was offended Hall did not pronounce Eltahaway correctly, Eltahaway expressed great surprise at being placed under arrest for spray painting in a New York City Subway.
“For what?” Eltahaway exclaimed, after being informed she was being arrested.
“For, for what?” one of the two arresting police officers replied.
“It is my right as a U.S. citizen to know what you’re arresting me for,” Eltahaway continued, turning toward a crowd to ask if they were watching. The crowd did not show any outward signs of sympathy toward the suspected vandal.
This is what happens to nonviolent protesters in America in 2012,” Eltahaway said, 15 years after New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani explained the harshness of graffiti street justice to a “Saturday Night Live” audience:
“She got in my way,” Elwahay told the officer in explaining why her nonviolent protest assaulted Hall.
“The 46- by 30-inch ads are plastered in 10 Manhattan stations, including busy Grand Central and Times Square Stations,” The New York Post reports.
They were sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which is led by the controversial anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller.
“In any war between the civilized man and the savage,” the advertisements read, “support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
“Meetings done; pink spray paint time. #ProudSavage #FuckHate”” reads a tweet posted at roughly 4:30 p.m. on Eltahaway’s account.
In her next tweet, seven hours later, Mona Eltaway replaced the “#FuckHate” hash tag with one reading “#FreeMona.”
According to the tweet, she was charged with criminal mischief.