An effort to sell ice-cold lemonade turned sour on Saturday afternoon when officers showed up not with dimes and nickels, but with handcuffs.
Meg McLain, Will Duffield and Katherine Dill were arrested for running a lemonade stand on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The three were protesting as part of Lemonade Freedom Day, created by dad/activist Robert Fernandes in response to the recent string of children's lemonade stands that have been shut down by local police for not having the proper permits. (See a handy map of restrictions on kid-run concession stands here.)
On his website, LemonadeFreedom.com, Fernandes encouraged people across America to launch or patronize lemonade stands to "declare their lemonade independence."
The site reads:
There are so many laws on the books that have been written to supposedly protect the children. Are these laws really helping them? Or are they hurting them? Do we want to send the children a message that they cannot be productive members of society?
As police approached the D.C. lemonade stand, protesters shouted, "Come liberate your lemons!" and "Selling lemonade is not a crime!" A video shows officers searching the sellers before handcuffing them and taking them into custody. U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider told Fox News that the protestors were not arrested for "selling lemonade" but for "failure to obey a police officer, unlawful conduct [and] vending without a permit."
Not everyone believes protesting is the best way to teach kids to be productive members of society. Writes columnist Esther Cepeda: "Those who actually care about preparing the next generation to become profitable businesspeople should take their favorite youngster down to city hall to jump through the necessary hoops and learn what it really takes to become a successful entrepreneur."