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"Free Palestine" signs posted on lightpoles in Friday Harbor will be removed by town crew

Sheriff's message to community: The Sheriff's Office was informed yesterday [Tuesday, November 14, 2023] of some signs that were posted on lights poles in town [Friday Harbor] that read "Free Palestine" with a photo of an adult holding a child with apparent injuries from the current conflict ongoing in the Gaza area, and three QR codes on the poster.

We received concerns from some of our community members that this poster and links to the QR codes may contain messages of violence towards Israel and/or the Jewish community. I researched these QR code links and found nothing that indicates any specifics threats of violence.

The QR codes go to following sites: JVP- Jewish Voices for Peace, #ceasefirenow, and BDS- Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions.

I spoke with Town Administrator, Denice Kulseth, who confirmed that there is a Town of Friday Harbor Ordinance in place the prohibits placing of signs on light poles and other Town of Friday Harbor property without permits or approval of the Town of Friday Harbor.

The Town of Friday Harbor Code referenced is 14.04.090 Prohibited signs and specific to these postings, section (J.) Signs placed on or affixed to light poles, telephone poles, natural features, or on lighting or traffic standards.

Town Administrator Denice Kulseth said that Town of Friday Harbor Street crew employees will be removing any signs attached to lights poles and other prohibited spaces in town when observed unless otherwise approved by the Town of Friday Harbor.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office denounces acts of violence and threats of violence while supporting everyone's constitutional rights to free speech & assembly within the confines of the law without inciting violence or causing public safety hazards.

Just because groups or individuals disagree with one another, does not mean that they have to hate each other or commit acts of violence or threats of violence towards one another.

The Sheriff's Office also received information of a "March for Peace" calling for a cease fire in Gaza on the Courthouse lawn today, 11/15/23, at 3pm and another assembly in support of Israel at the same time. The Sheriff's Office will have a presence in the interest of everyone's safety while peacefully exercising their rights to free speech and assembly.

Sheriff Eric Peter

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