“People have a right to protest; people can say what they think.” Those were the words of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on Sunday, the day after millions protested against George Bush’s plans to launch a first-strike attack on Iraq.
But across the country demonstrators questioned how much of a right they still have to protest.
In New York the Justice Department teamed with the NYPD to deny protest organizers a march permit. They cited national security. Once the protest began on Saturday unknown tens of thousands of demonstrators were penned in by police blocks from the stage. Many never saw the stage or heard a speaker. Some 300 people were arrested.
United for Peace and Justice organizers are holding a press conference to discuss the reports of rampant police misconduct.
In Colorado Springs anti-war protesters are blasting local police for using riot gear, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse participants as a peace demonstration was winding down on Saturday. But according to a report in today’s Denver Post, police maintain the response was appropriate.
And in San Francisco 46 demonstrators were arrested. Five remain this morning in police custody.
- Leslie Cagan, coordinator, United for Peace and Justice, the group that organized the massive rally against war in NYC on Feb. 15th.
- Bob Choflet, protester who attended an anti-war rally in Colorado Springs who was tear-gassed and arrested.