Feb 15 fight for rights to protest

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Sun Feb 2 09:39:43 MST 2003

This is an appeal to ALL the major anti-war coalitions in NY -- UPJ,
ANSWER, NION -- to throw themselves into the struggle for the February 15
march permit, so far refused by the police, and mobilize people in the
streets to demand that the city respect (what's left of) our constitutional
rights. IMHO, A massive crowd at 1 Police Plaza, City Hall or wherever they
are negotiating the permit should help lubricate the "negotiation process."
Or better yet, at all three sites. It's that important. Plus agitation and
mobilization around this blatantly anti-democratic measure by the NYPD and
their superiors can only serve to build the February 15 action. And with or
without the permit the organizers should be prepared to rally AND march on
February 15. Will the cops stand in the way of several hundred thousand or
a million people?

Mike Friedman
Ph.D. Candidate
Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior
City University of New York

American Museum of Natural History
Molecular Systematics Laboratory
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, N.Y. 10024
P: (212) 313-7646       F: (212) 769-5277

At 09:26 PM 2/1/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>Date: Sat, 01 Feb 2003 20:36:31 -0500
>From: Andy Coates <esquincle at capital.net>
>Subject: Feb 15 fight for rights to protest
>This message was sent to local email lists and listservs in upstate NY.
>  From talking with UPJ today, evidently there will be "further
>negotiations" with NYC on Monday.
>At negotiations on Friday the NYPD offered either a march or a rally,
>but not both.
>United for Peace and Justice continues to negotiate with the City of New
>York for permits to use the public space of the city on February 15th in
>order for us to peacefully exercise our constitutional rights to free
>speech and assembly.
>We should see New York City's "reluctance" to issue march and rally
>permits for what it is -- an attack on democratic rights.
>February 15th promises to be an historic day, one that lives up to its
>name "The World Says No to War!" At least 4-dozen cities, including
>something like 20 cities in Europe, will witness mass demonstrations
>against the war on Iraq. That day the voice of the majority of humanity
>- - a resounding voice for peace - will be unmistakably heard, just as the
>United States ratchets its "low-intensity war" up toward an all-out
>invasion of Iraq.
>In this immediate context, and in light of many recent efforts to
>undermine the Bill of Rights, it takes no great leap to suspect that the
>decision to give United for Peace and Justice the run-around was made
>not in NYC but in Washington, DC.
>Similarly, the Feb. 15th protest was initially banned from Hyde Park in
>the center of London. The Secretary of the Department of Culture, Media
>and Sport explained with a straight face that such a gathering might
>damage the grass. The Stop the War coalition mobilized protests and
>press conferences, in defense of democratic rights.
>This morning the (U.K.) Guardian newspaper reports that "the government
>is facing the embarrassing prospect of reversing its ban on an anti-war
>protest at Hyde Park or allowing more than half a million to hold a
>rally outside Buckingham Palace." The latter, the authors add, "would be
>a PR disaster for the government."
>New York's city, state and federal officials have sworn to uphold the
>U.S. Constitution - including the Bill of Rights. However distasteful
>they may find it, we must remind them of this fact. We should help these
>'representatives' see that this abrogation of democratic rights, at the
>very least, could precipitate a "PR disaster."
>Under the Bill of Rights, the government does not get to choose when and
>where the people can assemble or speak!
>The February 15th protest "The World Says No to War!" represents an
>important event for the future of our planet. While it is not too late
>for Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly to choose to do their
>sworn duty and support democratic rights, we have no choice but to
>anticipate their further intransigence.
>We have the right to march and rally against war in NYC! We should claim
>that right by helping to convince the New York City government to issue
>permits for the February 15th march and rally at an appropriate central
>site in Manhattan.
>I spoke today with United for Peace & Justice organizers and they
>offered these numbers in NYC.
>NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg 212-788-3040 and/or 212-788-3210.
>NYC Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly 646-610-8526.
>NY State Governor George E. Pataki 518-474-1071.
>It would also appear worthwhile to pester elected federal officials from
>any state.
>Please ask everyone you can to help with this effort.
>Andrew D. Coates, MD, member Physicians for Social Responsibility

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