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Abortion Protesters Say They Were Pepper Sprayed

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Jackson police say three abortion protesters, including 15-year-old, have indicated they will press charges against a security guard they say sprayed them with pepper spray outside Mississippi’s only abortion clinic.

Jackson police spokeswoman Colendula Green says the three protesters got into an argument with the guard Wednesday morning after he turned on a sprinkler system and got them wet outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization in north Jackson.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization owner Diane Derzis said the security guard took action with the pepper spray because he felt threatened by or more of the demonstrators. She said she was not present when it actually occurred.

“My security guard has every right to protect himself,” Derzis said.

Green says the guard could face three counts of simple assault if the three press charges.

Green says the three were treated at Jackson hospital. She did not have their names.

Doug Hiser, a demonstrator at the clinic, tells The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/UlvvCJ ) that an argument started when one of the demonstrators tried to block the sprinkler from spraying water by covering it with his foot.

Demonstrators cannot legally stand on section of public sidewalk that blocks the entrance, Hiser said. And the guard traded words with the demonstrators when one of them crossed into the sidewalk section in front of the entrance to stop the sprinkler from spraying

Groups from both sides of the abortion issue have been demonstrating outside the clinic this week. Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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