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Concord gives green light to Vermin Supreme’s Hillary Clinton pony protest

  • In this Oct. 28, 2011 photo, Vermin Supreme gets ready to file at the Secretary of State’s office in Concord, N.H., to be on the ballot for the First-in-the-Nation presidential primary. Forty candidates, from President Barack Obama to a Delaware man who’s big issue is litter, will be on New Hampshire’s presidential primary ballot. New Hampshire, where candidates don’t have do anything more than fill out a form and pay 1,000 to sign up, typically attracts a wide range of candidates, and this year is no exception. AP

  • Perennial presidential candidate Vermin Supreme visits a polling station during a campaign stop in Londonderry on Feb. 9, 2016. Supreme has settled with the city of Concord after filing a lawsuit saying the denial of his request to bring two ponies to his planned protest of Hillary Clinton’s book signing, scheduled for Tuesday, violated the First Amendment. AP file

  • In this Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 file photo Democratic presidential candidate, Vermin Supreme raises his arms as the bus of Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, rolls away after a campaign event in Manchester, N.H. Supreme, a humorous performance artist who is perennially on the ballot as a presidential candidate supporting laws mandating that people brush their teeth and in past presidential campaigns, a promise of a free pony to every American. Supreme is suing the state capital, saying its denial of his request to bring two ponies to his planned protest of Hillary Clinton's book signing, scheduled for Dec. 5, violates the First Amendment. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) AP file



Monitor staff
Monday, December 04, 2017

A pony-centric protest planned against Hillary Clinton’s book signing has been given a green light by the city of Concord after a First Amendment lawsuit prompted the city attorney to strike a deal Monday.

Political provocateur Vermin Supreme will be allowed to occupy a downtown parking space to display two ponies in protest of Clinton’s event, according to city solicitor James Kennedy. The space – across the street from Gibson’s Bookstore on Main Street, where the event will be held – will be open to Supreme from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The arrangement came after the city originally denied Supreme a permit from the city’s health and licensing office to bring and display the animals. Supreme filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court of New Hampshire in response; Monday’s settlement meeting was carried out in lieu of a court appearance.

Supreme will be allowed to keep his ponies in the parking space as long as he pays the necessary parking fees, Kennedy said. If he takes the space for the entire allotted time, it could cost him $5.25 to park his ponies there.

He is being positioned across the street because the Secret Service will be using the parking spaces closest to the bookstore, Kennedy explained.

“We got creative here,” Kennedy said. “We don’t typically get pony requests on a daily basis.”

For Supreme, the incident is hardly a departure from the norm.

Originally from Massachusetts, Supreme, who characterizes himself as an activist, has run for various political offices in the United States since the 1980s, including for president. He is known for wearing a boot as a hat, and his political platform has historically included mandatory toothbrushing and a pony for every American.

Supreme has said he plans to demonstrate outside the book signing for Clinton’s campaign memoir – What Happened – in protest of a passage in the book that directly refers to ponies.

The excerpt, in which Clinton reprints an internet meme featuring a fictional Bernie Sanders promising free ponies, is a direct – and unwelcome – allusion to Supreme and his political movement, he asserts.

Clinton is set to appear at the bookstore to sign books and meet with patrons at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The sold-out eventis expected to attract 1,000 people.

Gibson’s Bookstore owner Michael Herrmann said the store had no involvement in the settlement. The store, which has held numerous political events and hosted Bernie Sanders weeks after the 2016 election, is new to the pony protest scene.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” Hermann said. “But this is a national event, so it’s different.”

“We have our own thing to do,” he added. “We just have to make sure it’s a successful event for everybody who’s coming.”

(Ethan DeWitt can be reached at edewitt@cmonitor.com, or on Twitter at @edewittNH.)