What Do We Call This?

RNC2.jpgIs this appropriate response of a democratic free country during a political convention?

RNC3.jpg Why is this level of force used against its own citizens by a democratic country?  What is the government afraid of?  What is really the aim of this level of force?
gasmasks_rnc08.jpgGas masks on and ready to spray peaceful demonstrators with pepper spray and tear gas.

rnc_policeabuse.jpg A news producer from Tennessee just having been sprayed

Police in riot gear arresting journalists doing their job, spraying pepper spray on peaceful demonstrators, after a weekend of raids on private homes?  I call this a police state and the work of a totalitarian government which has managed to render our constitutional rights null and void and to replace a constitutionally guaranteed free press with a propaganda machine.  Most US citizens have no idea what is going on.  Regrettably few of them, after years of propaganda and scare tactics, even know what the Constitution guarantees.

There was some vandalism by groups that splintered off after the big march on Monday.  What would appropriate response to that have looked like?  Is it possible to hold the offenders responsible without rounding up indiscriminately huge numbers of people?  Of course it is.  I think that the police deployed in this event were not trying to keep order but to intimidate and suppress lawful dissent and that this repression is of a piece with the raids in advance of the convention.
Here is a link to a report of Amy Goodman’s arrest and release.  It includes contact information for Minnesota offcials to whom we can protest these arrests and illegal tactics.

And here is another link to an article by Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild which is working on the scene to protect people there and our right to dissent, to speak out against the government, to assemble, and to have a free press.

The coverage of this story in minor media and alternative media is gratifying.  Patrice suggests going to Google News and searching for  “national convention protests.”  A wealth of sites comes up.  Here is a link to a story about student journalists from the University of Kentucky that caught my attention among many others.

David, however, has expressed my own view that this should be the lead story on the front page of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Things are still breaking fast.  Please do keep checking with sites on previous posts, especially Democracy Now and the Minnesota Independent which is on the spot.  The photographs above are from the latter.

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One Response to “What Do We Call This?”

  1. Dance For Peace » Blog Archive » Protesting FBI Raids of Anti War Activists Says:

    […] Legal observers are an important part of this story because the activists who were raided last week were also arrested in conjunction with the Republican National Convention in 2008 in a vast show of unconstitutional abridgment of the rights to dissent; and it was the National Lawyers Guild which worked then and is working now to protect those rights.  Here and here are links to previous posts on this blog and news articles about those incidents. […]

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