U.S. Forest Service officers pointed weapons at children and fired rubber bullets and pepper spray balls at Rainbow Family members while making arrests Thursday evening, according to witnesses.
“They were so violent, like dogs,” Robert Parker told reporter Deborah Stevens of the libertarian-oriented, Round Rock, Texas-based We the People Radio Network [www.wtprn.com] after the incident.
“People yelled at them, ‘You’re shooting children,'” Parker said during an interview on the network’s “Rule of Law Show.”
About 7,000 people have arrived at the gathering near Big Sandy in the Wind River Mountains for the annual Gathering of the Tribes, a seven-day event of fellowship, partying including illicit drug use, praying, and living on the land.
They camp on Forest Service land around the country every year, but the Rainbow family’s nonhierarchical methods — no one can speak for the Rainbows, much less sign a land use permit — often have stymied their relationships.
But rarely do the tensions escalate into violence.