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Tree-climbing anti-abortion activist banned from D.C.

Alicia Lozano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – A California man has been banned from D.C. after climbing a 40-foot tree on Inauguration Day and yelling his way through the ceremony.

Police say anti-abortion activist Rives Miller Grogan stayed in a thin tree near the Capitol for hours during Monday’s swearing-in, The Washington Post reports.

A D.C. Superior Court judge banned him from the city Tuesday. He is allowed to return only for his second hearing Feb. 25.

Grogan can be arrested on sight if he is discovered inside D.C. limits, Capitol police say.

The 47-year-old reportedly disrupted about 60 people trying to catch a glimpse of inauguration festivities. Colin Cloherty, who is the brother of a WTOP employee, was standing about 100 yards away from Grogan and watched him scramble up the tall tree, he says. The incident was amusing at first, but quickly became distracting.

“He kept yelling through the prayer, the different speeches and the poem,” he says. “It was pretty disruptive to the people that were right there.”

“Everyone was being quiet and this guy starts yelling about killing babies and abortions. I was kind of surprised he didn’t at least stop for the prayer, since he was probably a religious guy.”

Cloherty says police tried climbing the tree to grab Grogan, but it wasn’t strong enough to hold more than one person. Police later brought in a ladder, the Post says, which only caused the activist to shimmy further up into the tree. He eventually came down on his own after five hours.

This is Grogan’s second arrest in about a week, according to a D.C. court records search. He was charged with unlawful conduct Jan. 16 after shouting from the gallery of the Senate building.

Since 2009, Grogan has been convicted five times in D.C. for disobeying police and disorderly conduct, the Post reports. In the past, he received fines and short jail sentences.

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