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The DNC vs. the First Ammendment

This is completely ridiculous. For most of the Democratic National Convention, protestors will be restricted to a "designated protest zone". From all accounts, this "zone" is a small fenced in area, tucked out of sight beneath old Green Line elevated tracks. The fences are topped with razor wire and netting, as if they'd modelled this "free speech" zone after Guantanamo Bay. The federal judge who upheld the ruling that the "zone" should stand did so even while agreeing that the space was "an affront to the idea of free expression." He claimed that the pen was an unfortunate necessity because of security concerns and recent unruly protests in other parts of the country. The judge also ruled that the space wasn't large enough for 4000 people it was meant to hold, reduced the maximum occupancy to 1000, and required that extra exits be built.

All this begs an interesting question... What happens when the protesters inevitably refuse to be herded into the "designated protest zone"? There are going to be far more than 1000 protesters in Boston in the coming week. People are coming from all over the country to get their messages across. I can't imagine any of them are going to be too crazy about that concrete, steel, and barbed wire confinement program. And when they refuse to be penned, what is going to happen? Are they going to try to have the overworked, underpayed, and generally frustrated Boston Police (many of whom will be on their own picket lines next week) arrest or disperse thousands of protesters? Gee... I can't see something like THAT errupting into violence, mayhem, and destruction, can you? No way THAT could turn into another Seattle WTO situation, no sir.

Should be an interesting week in Boston. Note to self... start bringing camera to work.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 23, 2004 3:51 PM.

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