Nome police arrested a 28-year-old woman Wednesday for disorderly conduct during Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy's scheduled visit.
Brenda Evak was at the airport ahead of Dunleavy's scheduled "roadshow" stop.
According to witness accounts, Evak was loudly speaking to the governor upon his arrival into the terminal. She shouted the words, “what do we do when our lands are threatened? We stand our ground.”
According to a Nome Police Department news release, Evak closed the distance between herself and Dunleavy, while pointing at him and balling her fist.
Nome police say Evak refused to leave the airport when asked, so two Nome police officers escorted her outside and arrested her for disorderly conduct.
Evak later was released from custody. She attended the public forum hosted by Americans for Prosperity and Dunleavy at Old St. Joe’s Hall.
Alaska state Sen. Donny Olson of Golovin released a statement supporting Evak’s right to free speech. The statement says, “It is outrageous that an Alaskan expressing an opinion to the Governor is treated this way. Alaskans are angry, and they feel like their voice is not heard.”
The City of Nome made an announcement after Evak’s arrest, saying the City Council supports freedom of speech; however, when another party rents city facilities like Old St. Joe’s, they have control over who can access the rented facility. Gathering and protesting in public places like Anvil City Square still is allowed, but that cannot interfere with access to or from Old St. Joe's.
When it comes to protesting at airports, though, the Supreme Court has ruled that First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, such as free speech, are somewhat limited.
KNOM reported Friday that the charges against Evak were dropped.