In December, 1987, when sections of Lafayette Park were first closed due to the visit of a foreign head of state, the vigil argued that the courts should prevent the Secret Service from implementing this closure because the U.S. was supposed to be a free country, and such a closure was something one would expect only in a totalitarian police state.
The government assured the court that the visit of Mikhail Gorbachev was an "extraordinary" event, and such dramatic security measures would probably never occur again.
The vigilers urged the court to see reality for what it was. This was the first time in the history of the country that the government had taken such extreme measures. They predicted that if the the Secret Service were allowed to get away with closing sections of the park, it would be tantamount to letting the camel get his nose into the tent, and it would only be a matter of time before the camel was entirely inside the tent, forcing the legitimate occupants into the night.
As we have seen, the "extraordinary" event has now become so ordinary that, as on October 16, 2000, parts of the Park were closed -- without so much as a Public Notice -- on the occasion of a visit from Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh.