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Police: Protesters Refused To Leave Conn. Temple, Forced School Lockdown

WESTPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- Four schools were put on lockdown in Westport, Connecticut Tuesday, amid concerns that two men protesting an Israeli Defense Force talk inside a temple might have been carrying a gun.

It turned out that the men did not have guns, but they were arrested and charged with criminal trespass and breach of peace.

Around 1 p.m., Westport police were called to Temple Israel, at 14 Coleytown Rd. in Westport, after calls that unwanted people were protesting, police said. Soon afterward, more calls came in claiming that one of the protesters had a gun.

The first two arriving officers took two men into custody in a second-floor meeting room where staff had physically detained them, police said.

During the initial police response, Coleytown elementary and middle schools, the pre-school at the Unitarian Church, and Temple Israel Nursery were all put on lockdown until officers cleared the buildings, police said.

It turned out the protesters did not have a gun, but one of the men had been seen with a shirt over his arm and hand – which led some people to believe he was concealing a firearm, police said.

During the investigation, it was learned that Temple Israel had been hosting a talk with members of the IDF, and the two men had come to protest the talk, police said.

The men entered the temple and were asked to leave by staff, but they refused, police said. The Temple Israel staff had to restrain the men physically from entering the meeting room, and it was reported that they shouted various statements against the IDF as they tried to get in, police said.

The actions of the two protesters were alarming enough that several people left the temple in fear of their safety, police said.

The suspects claimed to be college students protesting the IDF. They were identified as Daniel Fisher and Gregory Williams, both 25, and were issued a $1,500 bond, police said.

Fisher and Williams were to appear on May 21 in Norwalk Court, police said.

Police also located and identified a vehicle that witnesses reported dropped the men off, police said. The driver has been identified, but will not be charged, police said.

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