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Convention Plan Puts Protesters Blocks Away

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  • Convention Plan Puts Protesters Blocks Away

    By Rick Klein, Globe Staff, 2/20/2004

    Protesters at this summer's Democratic National Convention in Boston may be confined to a cozy triangle of land off Haymarket Square, blocked off from the FleetCenter and convention delegates by a maze of Central Artery service roads, MBTA train tracks, and a temporary parking lot holding scores of buses and media trucks.

    Under a preliminary plan floated by convention organizers, the "free-speech zone" would be a small plot bounded by Green Line tracks and North Washington Street, in an area that until recently was given over to the elevated artery. The zone would hold as few as 400 of the several thousand protesters who are expected in Boston in late July.

    "The area looks a little silly, to be honest with you," said Urszula Masny-Latos, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild's Massachusetts chapter. "People will not be able to express their concerns with whatever will be happening, because no one will have access to delegates. No one will be heard, and the area is just too small."

    Officials with the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU of Massachusetts plan to meet with Boston Police Department representatives in the weeks to come to ask that the plan be changed. Boston police say no final decisions will be made for months, and stressed that they're open to input.

    The disappointment in the preliminary plans is likely to be the start of a protracted battle that has the potential to end up in court, as did a similar dispute at the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles. Relegated to a parking lot blocks from the convention arena, protesters sued, and less than a month before that convention began, a federal judge ruled that the designated area was unconstitutional. Organizers were forced to move the area to a parking lot directly across the street from an arena entrance, in keeping with earlier federal court rulings that any legal demonstration be allowed within "sight and sound" of its intended audience.

    In New York City, where the Republicans will hold their convention this year, police are anticipating tens of thousands of protesters. No plans have been made for where protests will be allowed, but civil liberties groups have already raised concerns about potential police tactics.



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    Mr. G

  • #2
    1968: Chicago, Illinois.
    Make America Great For Once.

    Comment


    • #3
      If they find access on public land closer they should be allowed on it.

      Comment


      • #4
        I thought only Republicans did this? I seem to remember a lot of dems bitching about the Bush administration setting up "free speech zones". Still, it's the republicans that are hypocrites.
        Asked what he would do differently in Iraq, Kerry said, "Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I'm not the president, and I didn't create this mess so I don't want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven't made."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by BurnKU@Feb 20 2004, 11:43 AM
          I thought only Republicans did this? I seem to remember a lot of dems bitching about the Bush administration setting up "free speech zones". Still, it's the republicans that are hypocrites.
          I was hoping that would be obvious to those who pointed it out earlier.

          Comment


          • #6
            Ridiculous that the Dems are trying to do this. I oppose the free speech zones by the administration, and it is unconscionable for the Democrats to do the same while criticizing the Bush administration for squelching free speech.

            It isn't 1968 anymore. Move on.

            Moon

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