Thursday, August 07, 2008


I get a kick out of those conservatives who denounce righteously China's so-called protest pens. I wonder what they think of yet another federal judges decision to keep protesters away from a political party's convention. This time we're talking Denver and Democrats.

The judge actually ruled protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver can be restricted to fenced-in areas.

I call those protest pens.

Protest groups had sued the Secret Service and the city of Denver, saying that their Constitutional rights to free speech were being violated.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger agreed that the protesters would suffer some infringement on their freedom of expression, but said tough cookies.

Organizers of Recreate 68 has announced they will hold a press conference today, Thursday, August 7, 2008, 4:45 pm, east steps, City and County Building to address this decision.

In their press release Recreate 68 states:

"The city of Denver and the Secret Service are now free to confine ordinary citizens to a "freedom cage" two football fields away from the Pepsi Center, where they will have no meaningful opportunity to bring their concerns to the attention of delegates. Meanwhile, corporations and their paid lobbyists are free to spend millions of dollars to get private face time with elected officials inside the Pepsi Center. Nothing could better symbolize the sorry state of American democracy. The last years eight years have seen a full-scale assault on civil liberties by the Bush administration­with the full complicity of the Democratic Party. This is the result."

Just yesterday the group Tent State University announced their own plans in light of rulings by the city of Denver that they couldn't sleep in the parks during the convention.

As reported in the Rocky Mountain News, Adam Jung, an organizer for Tent State University, mocked the city's allocation of the protest zone for demonstrators at the southeast corner of the arena's parking lot, near Seventh Street and the Aurora Parkway. Nonetheless, he said, the demonstration site would be the location in which hundreds -- or thousands -- of protesters would converge on once they're booted out of City Park and they begin the 2-and-a-half-mile trek to the Pepsi Center.

"We have felt that the city's stance on this issue was based on their desire to suppress the demonstrations and any message that exposes the Democratic Party's refusal to end the war," Jung said as another protester, Karen McGuire, clad in full Revolutionary War regalia, played the "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" on a fife.

"But we were not seeing the big picture. The city of Denver does not oppose free speech. They love free speech so much they just want to protect and secure it with razor wire and caging. Because of their passion for the First Amendment the city has provided one place for demonstrators to be overnight -- the freedom cage. Each night demonstrators will take the freedom cage and transform it into the 'Freedomville Shantytown.' "

By morning, protesters plan to pack up their gear and head back to City Park where they will set up their camps, continue their anti-war messages and be entertained by music and speeches.

PS - The city of Denver has banned the carrying of feces and urine for “nefarious purposes.” Also, there will be no bikes allowed within the DNC perimeter of the Pepsi Center, nor at Invesco Field, where Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech, DNCC organizers confirmed this week.

The following is from the Rocky Mountain News.

Protesters to appeal DNC ruling 'in the streets'

An organizer for one of the groups planning large-scale protests during the Democratic National Convention says they will appeal a federal judge's decision to restrict access to the Pepsi Center "in the streets of Denver."

Glenn Spagnuolo of the Re-create 68 Alliance protest group said today that demonstrators still intend to go to the Pepsi Center.

"It was a very adverse decision where the federal courts are willing to throw away people's civil liberties in the name of security," Spagnuolo said.

Attorneys for the protest groups said today they will not appeal the ruling by U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger. They also are dropping challenges to restrictions at Invesco Field, which was scheduled to go to trial next week.

Mark Silverstein, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said Krieger was likely to rule the same way on Invesco Field.

"Overall the regrettable thing is courts are deferring to security planners who base their plans many times on risks that are extremely speculative ... and the result is all of our First Amendment rights are diminished," Silverstein said. "That's the world we live in."

Protesters are holding a press conference on the steps of the City and County Building this afternoon to announce how they "intend to move forward," he said.

"We'll file our appeals in the streets of Denver," Spagnuolo said. "We intend to march, and we still intend to go to the Pepsi Center."

Spagnuolo said protesters decided to wait to make an announcement until they had time to talk to their attorneys.

"We were waiting to make any statements until we had a conference meeting with our attorneys today," he said. "We wrapped that up, and we're going to be discussing the ramifications of (the judge's) decision and what Re-create 68 is intending to do as far as appeals or what may happen in the streets."

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