La Puente pastor on way home

Times Staff Writer

Eddie Perez Romero, the La Puente pastor who was taken into custody near Tiananmen Square during a human rights protest, has been ordered out of the country by Chinese authorities and put aboard a San Francisco-bound airplane, his daughter said Monday.

"We know he is flying into San Francisco and from there he's going to try and take a Southwest flight into L.A.," said his daughter, Sarah Yetter. She said she expected him to arrive in Los Angeles today in the late afternoon or early evening.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing helped locate Romero after his arrest and apparently helped him get out of the country, said Tony Thomas, Romero's spokesman in La Puente.

"The Chinese have destroyed all his papers, his passport, everything," Thomas said. "So we're not sure what happens when he gets to San Francisco."

Romero's one-man protest began Aug. 7 when he allegedly vandalized two upscale hotel rooms not far from venues for the Beijing Olympic Games. He painted Bible verses and anti-Beijing slogans on the walls and beamed video of his actions back to the U.S.

He managed to alert at least two Beijing-based foreign reporters, who wrote about the protest and published pictures of the marked walls.

Romero is believed to have hidden in a rural area outside Beijing for the next two weeks before resurfacing at the historic square shortly after the Games' closing ceremony.

There, Romero managed to talk to passersby and shout out his demands before being escorted out of Tiananmen Square and into a security car. He had been demanding that Beijing free five political and religious prisoners and sign a U.N. human rights accord.


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