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Green Party Candidates Arrested at Presidential Debate

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Green Party candidate Jill Stein and her vice presidential running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested at the Hofstra University debate site Tuesday as they protested their exclusion from the second presidential debate.

Stein and Honkala were jailed for disorderly conduct around 3 p.m.  when they were blocked by police officers as they attempted to enter the debate hall, according to Stein’s campaign manager, Ben Manski.

Manski and the Nassau County Police Department both said that it was unclear when Stein and Honkala would be released, but Manski added they could remain jailed until midnight.

“The arrest was outrageous and shouldn’t be tolerated in a country that is a leading proponent of democracy,” Manski told ABC News. “They knew that there was the possibility that they would be arrested. Their intention was to enter the premises and bear witness to the mockery of democracy that is tonight’s debate,” he said.

The Green Party has long complained that the Commission on Presidential Debates attempts to “rig elections” in favor of the two major political parties by excluding third-party candidates from debates. Stein and Honkala also planned protests at the first presidential debate in Denver.

Stein, a licensed physician, is on the presidential ballot in 38 states or 85 percent of the ballots, her campaign says.

The Commission on Presidential Debates was formed in 1987 to administer general election debates.

In addition to the constitutional criteria to be eligible for the presidency, the Presidential Debate Commission requires that candidates have a mathematical possibility of achieving the 270 electoral college votes necessary to be elected, and the candidates must have at least 15-percent support in public opinion based on the average of five national polls in order to participate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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