PORTLAND (AP) – A week after a college canceled an art exhibit featuring the works of a state trooper’s killer, supporters marched through Portland with the “Can’t Jail the Spirit” exhibit.

The University of Southern Maine canceled the showing after police agencies in Maine and other states objected to Thomas Manning, whose work was on display, being portrayed as a “political prisoner.”

Manning, who took part in a string of bank robberies and bombings of government buildings in the 1970s to protest racism and corporate capitalism, is serving an 80-year sentence for the bombings and the fatal shooting of New Jersey State Trooper Philip Lamonaco in 1981.

The Victory Gardens Project, which supports what it says are political prisoners and considers USM’s decision to cancel the exhibit an act of censorship, organized Friday’s march from USM to Congress Square in downtown Portland.

“Thomas Manning is (in) prison. He wants to paint, sketch, draw? Do it on your wall in your cell. That’s the only place that belongs.

“It does not belong on my street,” Lamonico’s widow, Donna Lamonaco, told WCSH-TV.

on Friday and was to be honored by police organizations in the state.

The exhibit had been on display at USM for a week before school officials decided to pull it on the day it was scheduled to formally open. Numerous police officers had planned to march in protect of the exhibit if it had gone on as planned.

“It was expected, knowing the nature of those in power here in the so-called United States of America,” Manning said on a Web site run by a supporter. “Censorship, the denial of free speech, are the norm in the land of smoke and mirrors.”

AP-ES-09-15-06 1910EDT


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