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Keep your heads, Rove protesters

Local residents need not like Karl Rove, a senior adviser to President Bush, who will speak in Tigard on Friday night. But that's no reason for anyone wanting to publicly protest Bush's policies or Rove's long list of partisan nastiness to engage in actions that might promote rudeness, place citizens or police officers at risk, damage private property, or endanger Rove.

Yet Tigard police will be prepared for such possibilities when Rove visits a meeting of the Washington County Republican Party at a reception at Washington Square's Embassy Suites Hotel; so are organizers of the private-invitation fundraiser.

But troubles already may be brewing. An online posting advocates a strong protest against Rove - and also suggests that the protest be directed at anyone who attends the Rove event.

Such a call to action is sad and dangerous. No one opposed to Bush and Rove should target everyday citizens. Freedom of speech and the right to assemble in protest ought not permit anyone to threaten others or damage private property.

The best approach we think is for residents of Washington County who support Bush and Rove's policies to quietly attend the Republican fundraiser.

And citizens who oppose those policies should visibly and verbally demonstrate their views without placing themselves, others or private property at risk.