A group of senior citizens exiting a national park as the federal government shutdown were treated harshly by armed park personnel and prevented from using the restrooms during the over two-hour ride out of the park, according to a local newspaper.
The Newbury Port News said the elderly tourists were "treated [so] harshly by armed park employees" in Yellowstone National Park that "some of the tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest."
In fact, "when finally allowed to leave, the bus was not allowed to halt at all along the 2.5-hour trip out of the park, not even to stop at private bathrooms that were open along the route," the newspaper added.
The tour guide, Gordon Hodgson, branded their actions as "Gestapo tactics," according to the Livingson Enterprise.
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 07: Mirta Maltes a U.S. Park Ranger law enforcement officer stands near the road closed sign leading to the Everglades National Park on October 7, 2013 in Miami, Florida. The park is closed as the United States House and Senate are into day 7 of not being able to agree on a bill to fund the United States government. National Parks around the nation are closed along with other federal services. (Getty Images)
The tour guide, who had reportedly paid a $300 fee to bring the group into the park, was allegedly told by the ranger the group couldn't "recreate" in the park, since it was closed.
When Hodgson denied they were "recreating," the ranger allegedly responded and said in an aggressive tone, "Sir, you are recreating."
One of the seniors on the nine-day tour bus reportedly added that she was embarrassed, angry and heartbroken for her country.
“We’ve become a country of fear, guns and control,” Pat Vaillancourt, said. “It was like they brought out the armed forces."
Vaillancourt described one encounter her group had with park police on their way out, saying the bus had stopped to allow to photograph some passing bison when they were ordered to get back inside their vehicle.
“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” Vaillancourt said, according to the paper. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”
TheBlaze was unable to reach Vaillancourt for comment on Tuesday.
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