Cops deflate Obama protesters’ plan to display inflatable rat on Martha’s Vineyard

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Local police deflated an advocacy group’s Thursday plans to showcase a large inflatable rat at Five Corners on Martha’s Vineyard, according to a local news report.

Americans for Job Security had barely set up its giant rat when local police told the group’s organizers to take it down. In a release, the group wrote it was using the display to remind the vacationing President Barack Obama of his administration’s “job-killing policies.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Times reported Tisbury Police Chief Dan Hanavan as saying the inflatable rat was too close to a major intersection and that the group could’ve set it up elsewhere in a safer location.

Hanavan said the display was also on federal property without permission. “If the guy is in the right spot he can fly his mouse all he wants,” said the police chief, according to the MV Times.

The local newspaper also reported police arrested one young man with AJS on charges of unlawful wiretapping after he videotaped Hanavan’s conversation with other AJS protesters.

AJS first displayed its giant inflatable rat outside a National Labor Relations Board hearing in Washington, D.C., in July. Labor unions often setup gigantic rat balloons outside businesses with which they disagree. (RELATED: AFL-CIO president slams Obama for weak, ‘little nibbly’ labor policies)

Earlier this year, the NLRB ruled that rat balloons don’t have the same “coercive” effect as a traditional picket line.

If displaying the rat balloon outside a business had been deemed “picketing,” unions wouldn’t be allowed to attack their target businesses’ credibility in such a way without the negative consequences of a strike, like wage loss.

AJS’s Martha’s Vineyard rat balloon display intended for Obama comes just weeks before the president is expected to make his jobs major jobs speech shortly after Labor Day.