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Protest
February 11, 2003 12:28 PM   Subscribe

Saturday's anti-war protest in NYC, planned by United for Peace & Justice and to be held along First Avenue in the area of the UN, has been denied a parade permit by the city, who offered a permit for a stationery demonstration instead, to take place several blocks away from the UN. This decision has been backed by US District Court Judge Barbara Jones, citing concern for "Homeland Security" and the importance of defending the UN against possible terror attacks.
posted by sarelicar (57 comments total)

 
Well you know how dangerous those hippies can be, don't you?
posted by bucko at 12:34 PM on February 11, 2003


The URL for the second link seems only to work when you enter it in manually. Woopsie and here it is anyway: http://www.newsday.com/templates/misc/printstory.jsp?slug=ny%2Dnybres093122933feb09&section=/news/local/longisland/columnists
posted by sarelicar at 12:36 PM on February 11, 2003


Yeah, they once made the Pentagon levitate!
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:36 PM on February 11, 2003


Yes, I seem to recall Richard Nixon being very afraid of anti-war protestors too. Repression is increasing every day in the US. Denying lawyers to people arrested. Blocking those unseemly demonstrations. Calling people cowards if they don't agree with you. Calling our allies cowards, and that they threaten NATO. It's embarrassing to be a US citizen these days.
posted by Red58 at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2003


next target: democrats at polling places. we must protect our polling places from terrorist attacks.
posted by quonsar at 12:38 PM on February 11, 2003


Our government is being run increasingly more like a giant public corporation -- and how many of them would allow employees to wave signs in the hallway?

The level of involvement that most companies want from their employees is a suggestion box, a company newsletter and some careful, inoffensive blabber at all-staff meetings -- protests and meddling in internal business decisions are not welcome.

Expect the same from our government in the future. We're not far from that as it is.
posted by argybarg at 12:50 PM on February 11, 2003


The powers that be hope to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by creating a new power source--turbines powered by the founding fathers' spinning in their graves . . .

All kidding aside--it's now officially time to be terrified.
posted by vraxoin at 12:52 PM on February 11, 2003


Meanwhile, George Tenet is going on TV to make sure we're all to scared to do anything about it. The machine is in overdrive.
posted by vraxoin at 12:57 PM on February 11, 2003


I don't understand what "content neutral" permit-denial (cited by Judge Jones) has to do with the right of assembly. Furthermore, what does preventing demonstrations have to do with keeping the UN safe? If someone wanted to bomb the UN or whatever, they'd do it with or without a massive demonstration -- probably a bit more easily without 100,000 people there.

I can understand the City's not wanting tens of thousands of people marching. I don't really want the City to get shut down all day either. I, like, have a job to get to on Saturday. Oh well. A war is more inconvenient than a demonstration, particularly if you're the one getting bombed.

I'll still skip out of work to attend the march, although I hope not to be embarrassed by too many people with obnoxious drums and juvenile chants. God I'm getting old.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 12:59 PM on February 11, 2003


I'll still skip out of work to attend the march, although I hope not to be embarrassed by too many people with obnoxious drums and juvenile chants. God I'm getting old.
RJR, do you wear a suit or other business clothing to work? Lord knows the protest movement needs more professional looking people.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:03 PM on February 11, 2003


They're still having the protest though, right? Just not marching in front of the UN?
posted by stifford at 1:03 PM on February 11, 2003


I had no plans to attend the march-- however I would attend a march to allow them to march.
posted by cell divide at 1:06 PM on February 11, 2003


a stationery demonstration? I guess they do say that the pen is mightier than the sword...
posted by milnak at 1:07 PM on February 11, 2003


Naaaahhhh, I'll pass.
posted by 314/ at 1:09 PM on February 11, 2003


PinkStainlessTail: i've noticed that too. where are all the suits? surely we didn't ALL sell out?
posted by quonsar at 1:16 PM on February 11, 2003


oh, by the way, i've just been informed by a coworker that gas prices jumped 20 cents here (west michigan) thisafternoon.
posted by quonsar at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2003


Related: The New York Sun editorial which asserts that it is proper for the City to withhold the permit for as long as possible, with the goal of lessening turnout. The editorial also contains this gem:

So the New York City police could do worse, in the end, than to allow the protest and send two witnesses along for each participant, with an eye toward preserving at least the possibility of an eventual treason prosecution.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:25 PM on February 11, 2003


Our government is being run increasingly more like a giant public corporation --

argybarg: one of Dubya's stated goals was to run the government more like a corporation, since he's absolutely flourished in such environments in the past (hint: that was sarcasm, it's been shown in embarrassing detail how he was a complete and total failure in the corporate world). He'll now have "one failed national economy" to add to his list of failures on his resume for when he becomes a multi-million dollar paid CEO upon ending his second term.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:28 PM on February 11, 2003


Well you know how dangerous those hippies can be, don't you? posted by bucko

Yeah! Damn those bead-wearing, sign-waving, love-talking commie bastards to heck! I mean, the next thing you know, they'll want to start talking about worker's rights, and then where would the Corporation of America be?

Sheesh. You know what blows my mind? When I was a little kid, and watching all the war protests, and the marches for civil rights, and the "Don't trust anyone over 30" stuff that my parents did, I thought, "Wow, won't it be great when these people are in power?"

It would seem that they turned out to be the very people they were protesting against. The more things change...yadda, yadda, yadda...
posted by dejah420 at 1:34 PM on February 11, 2003


hhmmm. Demonstrators can't march along exactly the route they want to take. Obviously, this is a desperate attempt by the government to silence all dissent. Clearly, the founding fathers are rolling over in their graves at the shocking supression this represents. Imagine - they are being forced to stand in one place, instead of walking in another. Clearly the end of free speech as we know it. (And, of course, this stunning, dramatic, silencing of "the people" was planned at the Bohemian Grove, bwah ha ha ha ha).

On a more rational plane of existance ... Note to US citizens outside of Manhattan: You'll have to forgive New York government officials if they are still a bit paranoid about terrorists. They haven't quite gotten over 9/11 yet, and get just a little edgy about any large gathering in front of a symbolic target.

PS. Nice MeFi advert for the rally tho'.
posted by MidasMulligan at 1:39 PM on February 11, 2003


That NY Sun editorial is incredible, Ty. Sort of thing we'll look back on 50 years from now and wonder, "what the hell were they thinking?"

Love the circular logic in the last para. "We must cut back on our civil liberties, because if there is another terrorist attack we will be forced to cut back on our civil liberties."
posted by ook at 1:43 PM on February 11, 2003


314/, thanks for the Bagge link.
posted by homunculus at 1:53 PM on February 11, 2003


Pfft. Since when do you need a permit to walk down the street? If a few hundred thousand people all happen to walk the same route, waving signs etc, thats just a coincidence...

The minister for culture tried to stop us protesting here in London on Saturday, by saying we couldn't walk on the grass in Hyde Park. I'd find a link, but frankly its irrelevant as a) she changed her mind b) no one paid attention anyway. Hmm, I just remembered it was posted on MeFi. Still can't be arsed to find it...
posted by Orange Goblin at 1:55 PM on February 11, 2003


Fuck the permit. If 200,000 people march down the street, all the cops in the world aren't going to stop them.

Goddamn government. They won't rest until we are all quivering with fear in our houses, silent and believing.
posted by aacheson at 2:06 PM on February 11, 2003


They haven't quite gotten over 9/11 yet, and get just a little edgy about any large gathering in front of a symbolic target.

Because look what happened when the hijackers protested past the WTC.
posted by iamck at 2:11 PM on February 11, 2003


Big conspiracy? Hardly.

It makes perfect sense to me that they don't want a bunch of people that haven't been screened in any way within close proximity of the UN building.

So you can't demonstrate exactly where you wanted to, get over it. The demonstration is still happening, and you can still get your message out if you feel it's impotant.

Your just not going to be allowed to compromise the safety of a top priority target to do it.

Scenario:

"Daddy, why can't I hold a protest inside the top secret conference rooms in the Pentagon?"

"Well son, the government wants to stifle your message; they are afraid of your powers of persuasion!"
posted by soulhuntre at 2:15 PM on February 11, 2003


On a more rational plane of existance ... Note to US citizens outside of Manhattan: You'll have to forgive New York government officials if they are still a bit paranoid about terrorists. They haven't quite gotten over 9/11 yet, and get just a little edgy about any large gathering in front of a symbolic target.

Since I don't live in NYC I will take this statement on face value. If this is true, then where is the conspiracy? To establish such a conspiracy don't we need to link the Bush Administration to Bloomberg’s government and then link Bush and Bloomberg to the decision made by the Federal trial court? I'm sure that the sovereign of NY and NYC love being push around by the Federal Government. And we al know that Bush, along with being president, is all the head of Judicial Branch. This seems like a de-facto conspiracy at best, or perhaps people feeling a little wiggy as MidasMulligan suggests. The decision sounds bit shady, but considering many other anti-war protests have occurred in many other cities with such a problem, could it not be possible the this instance is difference because it’s in NYC and because it’s in front of the UN? Should we judge before having the facts?

All of the other protests I have heard about or been at, including those in my city, have not had the same problem. Different facts often dictate different outcomes.

I will apologize to my fellow lefty MIFIs for not dogmatically applying my views, and actually taking the facts into consideration. After all, how can we decry the far right (and Bush) for being close minded when we are often guilty of the same thing. Sorry folks I like to think for myself, isn’t that what the left and MIFI is all about?

*runs as independent thought alarm sounds with MIFI police close at hand*
posted by Bag Man at 2:16 PM on February 11, 2003


Constution of the United States, Amendment 1, Article 1:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I think that's pretty specific as it applies to the situation in New York. I was already going to be in NYC this weekend for my birthday. Dinner reservations are now off, as I think this is far more important.

They won't rest until we are all quivering with fear in our houses, silent and believing. -- Nicely said, aacheson.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:29 PM on February 11, 2003


They haven't quite gotten over 9/11 yet, and get just a little edgy about any large gathering in front of a symbolic target.

Nah, they're just piss-themselves-scared apparatchiks.
On Friday, Esposito said, "I have information that we have an orange condition, I have orders as of 12 noon to upgrade security."

The alert had been announced by Attorney General "Cry Cry" Ashcroft, who goes to church to pray against people. New York has been on an orange alert from about the day they hit the World Trade Center.

Several times in court, Esposito said, "We don't know who is coming here for the march. We don't know who they are."

Leslie Cagan said, "It's free speech. Why do you have to know who is coming?"
I'm sure there'll be no worries when St Pat's Day comes along, and the odd genuine terrorist-in-exile, along with quite a few terrorist fundraisers and sympathisers, get to march down 5th Ave with the full approval of the Mayor's office.

Anyway, I'm off to trample Hyde Park on Saturday. I've promised Tessa Jowell to wear flat-soled shoes so that the poor grass doesn't suffer.
posted by riviera at 2:34 PM on February 11, 2003


Quick note to Orange Goblin: A protest in America is a lot different than one in England. When things get out of hand American cops have guns with bullets in them. I'm not saying it's totally repressive, since, most of the time they do let people protest, but the guns lend a significant scare factor to the sort of civil disobedience that you recommend. We shouldn't need permits; someone from France once looked at me as though I were insane when I explained the process to them.

That said, I think the protest will go on either way. I think people will reclaim the streets, I think people's bones will be broken, and I think people will be arrested. I hope nobody gets killed.

It's the UN - it's not some secret room of the pentagon - its a huge building on a huge street. It's right there, on display every other day - nobody's watching it, to make sure it's safe from terror. Is that what this whole 'orange alert' is? An excuse? The whole purpose of a protest is to make a scene, that's why people want to march outside the UN, because they want their voices heard.

PS RJ Reynolds: do you want to form a corporate suit affinity group?
posted by goneill at 2:47 PM on February 11, 2003


And while you're marching under the banner of the pro-Stalinist, Pro-Maoist organization ANSWER, remember, of course, that the "establishment" doesn't have a monopoly on stifling voices that they don't want to hear. ANSWER has refused to allow Rabbi Michael Lerner to speak on the platform. Rabbi Lerner is an extremely liberal man, who has been an outspoken voice in the anti-war movement. So why is he being barred by ANSWER? Well, because he doesn't believe in the total disintegration of Israel. And because he dared to criticize the World Worker's Party front-group because he felt that they were hijacking the anti-war cause for the promotion of their agenda.

Although I am pro-disarmament of Hussein, and am unequivocally devoted to the defeat of Islamic Fundamentalism, I think the decision to deny a permit was the wrong one. And I also think anyone who is serious about opposing war should make a concerted effort to divest themselves of the Stalinist thugs that have, sadly, taken over a legitimate (albeit, in my opinion, misguided) cause.
posted by sir walsingham at 2:49 PM on February 11, 2003


Civil_Disobedient, as a point in fact and law, it is within the power of the sovereign to place regulations on demonstrations and public gatherings of all kinds. I can't agree with what NYC did, but there are reasonable restraints on most First Amendment rights. Legally speaking (pending upper court review), the District Court made a ruling within its power that was not banned by the section of text you highlight (this a complex world, I'm glad you and W think we live on flat world). I know you would agree with reasonable restrains, those are ones that help the MIFI anti-religion crusades. Yes, Johnny we on the left are close-minded too! Thank Civil_Disobedient for exemplifying what is so wrong with MIFI and the close-mindedness and hypocrisy I decry.
posted by Bag Man at 2:52 PM on February 11, 2003


I don't think most of the protesters will be marching with ANSWER. I think they might be coordinating some of the protesters, but this is a decentralized grass roots movement.

There are no leaders.
posted by goneill at 2:56 PM on February 11, 2003


Not to derail this, and I'll be there Saturday either way, but what's a MIFI?
posted by muckster at 2:59 PM on February 11, 2003


It makes perfect sense to me that they don't want a bunch of people that haven't been screened in any way within close proximity of the UN building.

As opposed, say, to the thousands of people who, you know walk by the place every day and aren't screened.
posted by cell divide at 3:11 PM on February 11, 2003


sir walsingham, according to the article you linked to ANSWER has not been involved in the organizing of the New York City protest.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:37 PM on February 11, 2003


"I'm sure there'll be no worries when St Pat's Day comes along, and the odd genuine terrorist-in-exile, along with quite a few terrorist fundraisers and sympathisers, get to march down 5th Ave with the full approval of the Mayor's office."

Who can't feel that? Well said riviera.
posted by LouReedsSon at 3:39 PM on February 11, 2003


You are a pro-Iraqi terrorist, with plans to bomb the UN building. When do you schedule your attack?

A) During a weekend peace protest, when the building is surrounded by lots of policemen and extra security; the streets are crowded with hundreds of thousands of potential witnesses, making a quick getaway impossible; when there is likely to be confusion in the media about whether your intended target was the UN or the protesters themselves; and when the attack is most likely to alienate exactly those who are the closest thing you've got to supporters in America; or

B) On a random weekday, when the building contains as many diplomats and heads of state as possible, the streets will be relatively clear, and there will be no confusion as to your intended target.

The conclusion is clear. We must hold continuous, 24-hour peace protests in front of all US landmarks! It's the only way to keep America safe!
posted by ook at 3:57 PM on February 11, 2003


Good for NYC. People have the right to freedom to speech, and they have the right to freedom of assembly. However...restrictions can be placed on such...fer instance, I don't have the right to invite 1,000 of my closest friends to organize on my neighbor's front lawn.
posted by davidmsc at 5:37 PM on February 11, 2003


So in order to protect the citizenry from terrorism the very citizens whose government has assured them that all this rip-roaringly globally beneficent war-mongering is in the name of Freedom and Democracy are precluded from taking part in democracy because too many of them could get out of hand.

The war on terrorism is being waged, I was under the impression, to protect and keep democracy. Protesters therefore, are taking their own lives in their hands. It's their problem. Just like with the pro gun zealots, "Don't like guns? Don't own one."

Don't like protests with a chance of terrorism? Stay away from the goddamn protests. Easy enough.

Oh what disingenuineness this all is! The plot is thickening.

To those of you that feel protests are fine, just so far as they don't interrupt commerce, police-state right of way, go to your mirror and look at yourself. Remember to smile.

You represent the fascist hole that is now the United States of America.

Hand well played you freedom lovers.

Bomb the fuck away.
posted by crasspastor at 6:35 PM on February 11, 2003


I am (for) (against) the war. People who are (against) (for) the war are poopyheads.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:58 PM on February 11, 2003


I just want to confirm:

THE RALLY PERMIT WAS GRANTED, ALTHOUGH THE MARCH PERMIT HAS BEEN DENIED. Tens of thousands of people will show up Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. at 49th Street and First Avenue in order to protest the war. It's legal, it's happening, it's your chance to speak out.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:03 PM on February 11, 2003


Yeah, they've just made sure that all the protestors will be tucked away where are the Important People will never see them, that's all.
posted by Potsy at 7:25 PM on February 11, 2003


potsy,

First of all, the "Important People" don't give a rat's ass about such protests, and it will make absolutely no difference in their policy decisions.

The purpose of a protest is to amplify the colume message of the protestors, by dint of their coverage in the news media. The audience is not the policy makers, it's the TV watchers, the newspaper readers, and so on. It's a way to overcome the anonymity of the minority.

Yes, I know lots of people agree with the opinions of the protestors, but they are certainly in the minority in the sense that most people in the country are not showing up on Saturday.

And it won't make one iota of difference in the decisions of the policy makers.
posted by reality at 8:28 PM on February 11, 2003


Oops, I meant to say "volume of the message"
posted by reality at 8:30 PM on February 11, 2003


This protest isn't being organized by ANSWER. Of course all the people exercising their constitutional rights will be called "commies" by the same folks who have no problem with Johnny Ashcroft giving the Catholic priest treatment to the bill of rights.
posted by owillis at 8:48 PM on February 11, 2003


"Daddy, why can't I hold a protest inside the top secret conference rooms in the Pentagon?"

It's a street. They're not asking to hold a protest in a top secret conference room in the Pentagon. They are trying to protest while walking in the street.

And for God's sake, it's Mefi, not MIFI. Better yet, Metafilter.
posted by Hildago at 9:21 PM on February 11, 2003


Ah, thanks Hildago.

As for the streets, staying at 47th and First won't have nearly the impact as marching down 42nd and up Seventh through Times Square to the park. This is a crucial moment, and of course this is a thinly veiled, undemocratic attempt at hiding the dissent.
posted by muckster at 9:40 PM on February 11, 2003


crasspastor, it is hyperbole like yours that is primarily responsible for marginalizing what intelligent discourse there is on the left these days. Please stew in the privacy of your own home, and allow those with actual literate points to make have their say.

Honestly...
posted by sir walsingham at 10:06 PM on February 11, 2003


Hyeperbole or no.

Bomb the fuck away.

Honestly. Seriously. Honestly. Bomb the fuck away. Fucking bombs the fuck away.

Don't mind me. Hate to marginalize intelligent discourse on the left and all.

Uhhh. Yer an idiot and an asshole Sir Francis Walsingham.

But I do really hate to marginalize what tender saplings of logic or any kind of a premise ~~~the left~~~ might have had before my ass showed up.

*Sorry "Left"* Wasn't tryin' to marginalize you er nuthin'.
posted by crasspastor at 1:08 AM on February 12, 2003


*thud* Gasket (search page for 'gasket') falls from sky. Crasspastor, have you, er, dropped this? No I am not sure how you re-fit them either. Maybe you should organise a protest?

Protesting is good for your health. Participate to invigorate.

'Psychologists at the University of Sussex found that people who get involved in campaigns, strikes and political demonstrations experience an improvement in psychological well-being that can help them overcome stress, pain, anxiety and depression.'

So you can protest for selfish personal health reasons too.
posted by asok at 4:56 AM on February 12, 2003


You de' man crasspastor! Preach it brother! Testify! Pay no attention to the facist fucking warmongers who do not know their history.

I can't be in NYC but if I could I would march regardless of what the judge said. Matter of fact, the people have one more reason to march now. Get the police to march with you if you can. Let the world see the contrast between the marches elsewhere and in NYC if the police try to stop the march. Read up on your Martin Luther King and Gandhi before Saturday and MARCH!
posted by nofundy at 5:28 AM on February 12, 2003


Thanks, Hildago. I was wondering what a MIFI was, too.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:57 AM on February 12, 2003


You can yell "FIRE" in a crowded theater if the theater is on fire.
posted by Mack Twain at 11:14 AM on February 12, 2003


Or if someone way at the other end of the theater asks you your name, and your name happens to be “FIRE.”
posted by Ty Webb at 11:32 AM on February 12, 2003


Here's info from moveon.org:

The rally on February 15th is on, it's legal, and it's going to be huge. Here's what you need to know:

TIME: 12 Noon
DATE: February 15th (THIS Saturday)
WHERE: First Avenue, stretching north from 49th St.

For more details about buses, flyers to print out and distribute, and other goodies, check out:

http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?list=sub&sub=30

The New York Police Department is still refusing to issue a permit for a march, citing "security concerns." But the rally at 49th St. and First Avenue is fully permitted, and we're confident it will be a fun and safe atmosphere.

Speakers and performers will include:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Harry Belafonte
Danny Glover
Susan Sarandon
Pete Seeger
Rosie Perez
Tony Kushner
Julian Bond
Martin Luther King, III
Betty
poets from Def Poetry Jam
Angela Y. Davis
Dennis Rivera, SEIU 1199
Kim Gandy, National Organization for Women
Ruth Messinger, American Jewish World Service

This rally will happen in conjunction with events in over 300 other cities around the world. From London to Seoul, people are raising their voices against a war with Iraq. You can join the call by coming to New York City this Saturday.

P.P.S. You can voice your concern about refusal of the City of New York and the Police Department to grant a permit at the numbers below. Just ask that the City allow a march on February 15th.

Mayor Bloomberg's office:

212-788-9600 or
212-788-3010 or
212-788-3040

NYC Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly:

646-610-8526

NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito:

646-610-6710
posted by muckster at 6:04 PM on February 12, 2003


Betty? Betty Boop? Bouncing Betty? Or is that "Betty" as in, "Cher"?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:05 PM on February 12, 2003


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