More than free speech..Violating the law


    Anti-war protesters begin day of civil disobedience; dozens lay down on NYC's Fifth Avenue

    ELIZABETH LeSURE, Associated Press Writer Thursday, March 27, 2003

    (03-27) 06:03 PST NEW YORK (AP) --

    Hundreds of chanting anti-war demonstrators lined Manhattan's Fifth Avenue on Thursday and dozens lay down in the street to begin a day of planned civil disobedience actions.

    Officers, some in riot gear, clamped plastic handcuffs onto protesters and loaded them into police vehicles.

    Anti-war groups had called for a day of widespread civil disobedience, including blocking busy intersections and staging a "die-in" to protest media and corporate "profiteering from the war."

    As helicopters hovered overhead, the protesters -- chanting "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Bush's war has to go!" and "Peace now!" -- jammed police pens along Fifth Avenue between 49th and 50th streets, near St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Saks Fifth Avenue store.

    One lane of traffic was reopened on that block 25 minutes later.

    Police and security officers placed a web of barricades at adjacent Rockefeller Center, home of the GE Building, NBC and The Associated Press, to prevent a planned "die-in" there.

    Organizers of the loose coalition, which calls itself M27, said the "die-in" was intended to symbolize Iraqi war victims.

    One Fifth Avenue protester held a sign showing a picture of parrots and the words, "Don't Parrot the Right-wing Propaganda."

    "There's a long-standing tradition of nonviolent witness, which we're enacting today," said the Rev. Patricia Ackerman, of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Code Pink.

    Another protester, Lee Whiting, 44, held up a sign that said, "Embedded? or In Bed?" Embedded, she said, means that "journalists are presenting almost exclusively the military view of this war."

    "We're seeing glorification of technology. We're seeing heartwarming moments. We're not seeing much in the way of the real casualties inflicted on the Iraqis," said Whiting, a teacher from Manhattan.

    The anti-war demonstrations are costing the city millions of dollars in police overtime and drawing resources away from crime-fighting and anti-terrorism operations, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday.

    "This is more than protest, more than free speech," Kelly said. "We're talking about violating the law."

    The traffic-blocking technique was used in recent protests in San Francisco, which led to thousands of arrests and complaints that police used excessive force.

    What are they accomplishing? besides keeping our Homeland Security busy. Fellow Americans captured/mistreated/murdered, that's something to protest.
  2. 51 Comments

  3. by   Mkue
    Originally posted by mkue

    "This is more than protest, more than free speech," Kelly said. "We're talking about violating the law."
  4. by   ShortFuse_LPN
    I feel that everyone has a right to protest anything that they have strong feelings about, however, these people need to find a more constructive way to go about it. What do they think? Pres. Bush will see this and pull all the troops out of Iraq?? geesh!
  5. by   NurseDennie
    I was listening to NPR the other night.... Well, I tell a lie, it may have been last week. They were in the streets of SanFran, interviewing the anti-war protesters there.

    It was surreal! One girl (imagine your most obnoxious buffy vally girl accent) said: "We've been out here for days, totally protesting the war (?) The president isn't LISTENING to us (?) I just don't understaaaaaand (?) why the war isn't over yet (?)

    Everything ends with an inflection like it's a question.

    It sounded (to ME) like something a two-year old would say.


  6. by   fab4fan
    Dennie: Valley Girls ...gag me with a spoon!
  7. by   Mkue
    This particular article caught my attention as their intention was for a day of civil disobedience, which I have not seen planned ahead of time before. I'm feeling that their mission is more for attention and media coverage. I can't imagine wanting to be arrested and having that on record.
  8. by   Mkue
    I heard one protester on the radio stating that they have to take "drastic measures" to get their message across

    Dennie- Valley girls:chuckle ..gag
  9. by   SusyZeke
    I think the mother referred to in Brownms46 post "Loving a Soldier, Hating a War" is a true anti-war protester.
  10. by   Gomer
    I'm guessing, but none of you remember the Viet Nam War protests? (Maybe you weren't old enough or weren't even born then) We did the same things back then...stopped traffic, burned flags, yelled nasty words, faced down the police (called pigs back then) and the national guard. Nothing really different except the geography of the war.
  11. by   Mkue
    I just don't see any point now and frankly I'm getting perturbed by the escalation of violence in the protests when there is no draft.
  12. by   Stargazer
    First let me say that I think the kind of behavior exhibited in the first article posted is incredibly disruptive, problematic for local police, and costly for municipalities. I don't agree with it.

    However, to answer Marie's question, I think that the "escalation of violence" is probably directly proportional to the level of fear and frustration that the protestors are feeling in regards to the war. I'm not saying that they're dealing with it in the most productive way, I'm just trying to find an explanation for it.

    And, as Gomer, said, I think and hope that the majority of thoughtful protestors (as opposed to the "Val" quoted above) are thinking of this as they continue to protest.
  13. by   Mkue
    My biggest concern is that these protesters will become even more frustrated when they realize that civil disobedience is not stopping the war, what will they do next?
  14. by   Furball
    Blowing things up? Now wouldn't THAT be just dandy....