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Prague Spring: To Serve and Protect, EXCEPT for 1st Amendment Rights (10/11 7:30 pm)

From: Lee
Sent on: Friday, October 7, 2011 5:31 PM

Topic: To Serve and Protect, EXCEPT for 1st Amendment Rights

When: Tuesday, October 11, 7:30 pm

Where: Indian Restaurant TBD on East 6th Street b/t 1st & 2nd Aves.

 

(PLEASE NOTE Prague Spring is meeting over an Indian dinner at a place TBD on E.6th Street. A deposit is required to hold a seat for this meeting that includes a 4 course meal, otherwise we can not guarantee a seat at tables limited to 8 people. Please refer to the bottom of this post for more details.)

We propose a simple thesis.  The Police do not want the protests, do not support the exercise of 1st Amendment Rights and through the crowd control actions they implement, create an air of hostility that leads to the arrests.  Arrests that the Police hope deter further participation in protests.

One Police Supervisor, those are the Officers identified by their white shirts, was caught on tape with pepper spraying protestors twice, without provocation.  There are reports of other incidents which were not caught on video. (Somehow the standard now is that a crime has to be caught on video for a policeman to be liable.)  Yet when only the first video came out and there was some hint of plausible deniability, the Police Department reflexively answered that Deputy Inspector Bologna acted within reason.  It was hard to hold that position when the second video showed that with rage on his face, he pepper-sprayed protestors who were already walking away.

Then came the 700 protestors arrested on the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Keep in mind that the Police have perfected their crowd control tactics.  Yet for some reason, instead of blocking off the protestors from the Brooklyn Bridge roadway with their orange fishnets the Police have been using so extensively, they chose to direct the protestors through a Bullhorn not to go on the roadway and the White Shirts walked on the roadway in front of them, in effect lending a sense of legitimacy to the march.  Only after so many protestors were on the bridge roadway did the Police decide to stop anyone else from going on the bridge.  Clearly the message was let’s pen as many as we can instead of effectively deter the unlawful activity.  In fact, given the noise of the protest, the expectation that one police officer issuing a warning on a bullhorn was completely implausible as effective notice.  Knowing this, the White Shirts gave the appearance of leading the protest on the roadway, while preparing for the largest arrest in this country’s history.

From the New York Times: ‎"Where the entrance to the bridge narrowed their path, some marchers, including organizers, stuck to the generally agreed-upon route and headed up onto the wooden walkway that runs between and about 15 feet above the bridge’s traffic lanes.

But about 20 others headed for the Brooklyn-bound roadway, said Christopher T. Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who accompanied the march. Some of them chanted “take the bridge.” They were met by a handful of high-level police supervisors, who blocked the way and announced repeatedly through bullhorns that the marchers were blocking the roadway and that if they continued to do so, they would be subject to arrest.

There were no physical barriers, though, and at one point, the marchers began walking up the roadway with the police commanders in front of them – seeming, from a distance, as if they were leading the way. The Chief of Department Joseph J. Esposito, and a horde of other white-shirted commanders, were among them."

So are the Police working with protestors to allow them to exercise their first amendment rights without breaking any laws or are they looking for any reason to arrest protestors and in effect, deter participation in democracy?

Further, where is the coverage?  The New York Times appeared to get involved only after the macing of four young women, and then only with a poor, almost dismissive description of the protest that amazingly ignored the use of mace.  This reminds us of the dismissive reporting of the anti-war movement before the Iraq War when 50% of the country was against the invasion. On Monday night, October 3, ABC's, NBC's and CBS's national nightly news each only briefly covered the protests, pointing to the number of arrests or the lack of clear message of the protestors.  Little context was provided and no details of the largest arrest ever conducted in this country.  By simply providing a number of arrests, instead of providing an air for the reasons for protest, the MSM delegitimized the protest in the eyes of most viewers.

Is the mainstream media purposely avoiding giving adequate coverage to avoid the protest gaining steam?

Further, should we have time at the end of the meeting, we will discuss the assassination of al-Awlaki, an American Citizen accused of being a traitor terrorist.  Ron Paul said "No I don't think that's a good way to deal with our problems," Paul said in a media avail after his remarks at the Politics + Eggs event here. "He was born here, Al-Awlaki was born here, he is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes. No one knows if he killed anybody. We know he might have been associated with the underwear bomber. But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it's sad."

So we ask the question, should the President have the power to kill an American Citizen without trial, even if he is labeled a terrorist?  DemocracyNow provides a good segment showing the slippery slope of assassination based upon allegations - With Death of Anwar al-Awlaki, Has U.S. Launched New Era of Killing U.S. Citizens Without Charge?.

 

Reservation Policy: Please note that the $19 attendance fee includes a 4 course Indian dinner and covers the tax and tip too. (First time dinner attendees only pay $16 total including the deposit. Beverages are extra). To reserve a spot, you must make a $7 deposit through the PayPal link. The deposit allows us to plan on table sizes of 5-8 people, making for discussions that are neither too big nor too small.

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