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Columbia Spectator Staff

A brief commotion broke out on the street Monday afternoon as a local resident flipped over a table set up by supporters of the fringe LaRouche movement at 115th Street and Broadway. Angered by the display of a picture of President Barack Obama, CC '83, sporting a Hitleresque mustache, a passerby knocked over the table, which was stationed in front of Uni Café. The man, who refused to give his name, said of the image, "That's a crime when you start putting this on a picture on the president, especially a black president, no matter his race, that's not the problem." "It could have been Bush. It could have been Cheney. It could have been whoever—Clinton," he said. "That sign has to go." The LaRouche Political Action Committee, a national group that has mobilized individuals against Obama, has upset many with its dissemination of the doctored image. Jeff Rebello, one of the organizers manning the table, held the man down to the ground, preventing him from getting up. "He deliberately walked into our table and knocked it over, and I then stopped him because, you know, we can't allow these kinds of things to go on," Rebello said. "He has a right to his opinion. He can disagree with us if he wants to, but he does not have a right to assault our table." Ian Brinkley, another organizer, said, "He just saw our table and decided to knock it over because he didn't like what we're doing." Founded by political activist Lyndon LaRouche, the LaRouche movement calls for the impeachment of Obama, the reinstatement of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act—a banking reform act—and the creation of a water and power alliance in North America. The movement also seeks to replace the Federal Reserve with a federal credit system. Brinkley defended the committee's ideology. "Obama is currently pushing for dictatorial powers, and that's why we put the Hitler mustache on him," he said. Brinkley and other LaRouche supporters especially oppose the National Defense Authorization Act, passed at the end of December, which they say gives Obama too much power in terrorist interrogation. The organizers, Brinkley said, were merely trying to mobilize people against the bill. "That's all we're doing out here," he said. The man who took offense to the poster "didn't really talk to us or anything—he just reacted to the mustache." Another LaRouche supporter was in the area this week—New Jersey congressional candidate Diane Sare protested outside Obama's rally at Harlem's Apollo Theatre on Thursday and handed out fliers in support of her campaign. This was the second time the man who toppled the table had a reaction to the photo, he said—the first time, on the Upper West Side, he was arrested and put in jail. "I told the police officers, ‘OK, you'll see me again if I see this in my neighborhood,'" he said. Though Rebello called the police to take matters into their own hands, officers did not see any reason to arrest the man. "Nobody's hurt," a police lieutenant on the scene said. "No property damaged, everybody's happy. We've got a happy ending."

LaRouche fight Barack Obama