Posts Tagged 'protest'

“We Were Arrested for Speaking” and more at the Progressive Parade 10.5.2009

What happens when three different law-“enforcement” agencies converge on over 500 peaceful, nonviolent protestors in front of the White House?

Some get arrested by the National Park Police; others get physically assaulted by the Secret Service.

In unprecedented style, the Obama-occupied White House’s personal dudes with boots, batons, and bullets waited impatiently for the National Park Police to waffle over whether or not to arrest an additional 24 people (including Peace Action Montgomery’s own Jean Athey and Dave Kunes!) for its “special’ one-way service to Anacostia Jail (the verdict’s still out on whether or not this route will be offered more during the Obama years. Perhaps DC public transit is benefitting from the stimulus!).

Photo Credit: UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Photo Credit: UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Though Park Police had arrived with a variety of green modes of transit (horses decked out in riot gear, cops on bikes), as well as an additional two police vans, the SS apparently grew tired of them letting people pretend to be dead on the sidewalk. With three less warnings than the required three warnings before initiating an arrest or action on peaceably assembled American citizens (for the math-challenged, that’s ZERO), SS officers descended on the protesters and pushed, shoved, and dragged them beyond the National Park Police “crime scene” line. Then they walked away.

I’m still confused by the actions of the SS. Why did they step into the middle of three-hour negotiations between the peaceful protesters and the National Park Police? Why didn’t they give any warning or demand before violently removing them from the sidewalk? Why were 50 protestors arrested less than 100 feet away–and then released without charges or citations?

And why aren’t more of us “mad as hell” about this?

My opinion? Most aren’t angry because they haven’t tripped the triggers yet themselves. In an age where “non-lethal” weapons are being used on everyone from University of Pittsburgh students to 82-year old grandmothers, where activists get arrested for using Twitter to evade police orders to disperse (effectively dispersing the crowds for the police, eh?) at a G20 protest, you’d think it’d be easy to see how much harder it’s becoming to resist the ruling elite in the U.S. However, most don’t try to resist the ruling elite…and there-in lies the problem. They have no idea what happens when they stop cooperating with the oppressors.

I’d love to hear others thoughts on why Americans can so easily identify repression in other countries–fraudulent elections in Iran, violence against women in Afghanistan, the abuse of executive powers in Venezuela, the limitations on free speech in China–and yet remain so adamantly assertive of the rights and “freedoms” of Americans, to the point where they think it acceptable that thousands of Americans be enlisted and trained to kill-or-be-killed for our “freedom”? What freedom? The freedom to choose between Suave or Pantene? Between denim and suede sofas? Between H3s and Hybrids?

What freedom is that compared to all this:

Election fraud in Ohio in 2004, in Florida in 2000, and so on…
The “tasing” of unarmed University of Florida student Andrew Meier at a “Constitution Day” event with Senator John Kerry in 2007
Criminal charges for using Twitter as a communication tool at the G20 summit last week

And the thousands of youth whose skin is any shade darker than light tan that constantly face police brutality and the risk of arbitrary detention, citation, and violence in America…

Or the Philadelphia youth whose rights and lives were sold to detention centers by judges accepting bribes…

Or the Colorado University professor who lost his job for calling attention to US Imperialist responsibility for the attacks on 9/11..

The list goes on…

and on….

and on….

Read David Swanson’s “We Were Arrested for Speaking” for a break-down of the day’s actions–and the subsequent arrests…

Read “Substitute ‘Obama’ for ‘Bush’ and ‘Afghanistan’ for ‘Iraq’ in the Washington Post…

And sign the CODEPINK petition for an exit strategy from Afghanistan:



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