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There is somethig disconcerting about this huge cage (see pic on site) where protestors are allowed to protest during the Democratic National c0nvention. There was a recent Law and Order episode about this sort of thing. Free speech is now only allowed in cages out of the view of the general public. This is a sad situation.



  1. We had one of these creepy protest pens built in my area during a Labor Day visit by President Bush in 2002. Arrested protester Bill Neel insisted that police had no reason to order him into the protesters’ pit. The reason turned out to be they were following orders.

    The politicians are for the most part, well protected from the public they serve. The electioneering is staged in a way that everyone gets in a big sealed off convention center or other concrete big box and agrees with everybody else about everything. Those that don’t agree are rounded up and put into chain linked fence pens outside or arrested for not being in the free speech zone or some nonsense. Hey, isn’t the whole country a free speech zone? Maybe Kerry and Edwards will wander outside and talk with protesters in the protest pen. Don’t bet on it. You won’t find a bunch of republicans sitting in a protest pen at the convention. They have what they call a War Room established in Boston. I hope they don’t start killing people up in Boston, while operating from their War Room. What a country!

    Here’s a few story links and a court transcript link on the matter

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/neel-2002-10-31.html

    http://www.legitgov.org/front_mike_protest_pittsburgh_090202.html

    http://www.post-gazette.com/nation/20020904arrest0904p3.asp
    http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20021101protester3.asp

  2. Keith says:

    It seems to me that after 9/11 we were being told by government to live our lives as we normally would, or else the terrorists would have won. After seeing the news articles on the extent and incredible cost of the security for the Democratic convention- I guess the terrorists have won. Either that, or politicians think their lives are worth a lot more than anyone elses.

  3. Jason says:

    As long as the police don’t “prohibit” or “abridge” the freedom of speech of those who refuse to demonstrate in that cage, I don’t see a violation of rights. But why have the designated “zone” at all?

  4. Framing an election as a war creates the need for a war room. Maybe what we have now is another Civil War. Here’s how it works. You bring a bunch of republicans to Boston to harrass the democrats during their convention and then write dispatches about the angry, frustrated democrats you make angry and frustrated and try creating media buzz. They have Brooks Bros-clad soldiers gathered in an anti-Dems war room having sort of a convention outside of a convention. Mrs. Kerry reportedly told one Pittsburgh editor to “shove it.” Look forward to more pushing and shoving in Boston this week. I hope they don’t attack the locals. With all the Irish Dems in Boston, this war concept could get out of hand real fast.

  5. Freedom is the definitive word Marty. All the police can do is follow orders from their command. A law officer can’t express their view while armed and in uniform. If this were to be permitted, we’d have the police having their own protests or other activities while on duty. We had our military police in Iraq expressing themselves and look how that all worked out.

    The President ended up embarrassed and saying how sorry the United States was for the abuses of prisioners in U.S. custody in Iraq. The MP’s were just expressing themselves. The police are limited by power they don’t have and shouldn’t want. This isn’t a police state, it’s a free country.

  6. I thought that the police were enforcing the laws. This enforcing the will and the view of the rest of us stuff sounds like the thought police to me. I agree that the police are important for an orderly society. Thought police were based on the unfolding revelations of the totalitarian structures. Those structures didn’t last. Now the federal government wants to demand library and bookseller records of their readers’ borrowing. Don’t the police have more serious matters than tracking protesters and library records? Today, what you read can be used against you in a court of law. I’m too busy for protesting and I might stop reading if this kind of stuff keeps up. There are no police expressing my views, at least none that I’m aware of. Maybe I should quit writing after I quit reading and just let the police run my life according to some social contract with America, or the world at large, which dictates how I should behave. Free speech has limits and the police have even greater limits. Ignorance is unlimited, laying the foundation for totalitarian dreams of unlimited power and perhaps the election of a few politicians among us. Free speech is only as good as the individual.

  7. BOSTON-A teen near the “protest pen” at the DNC was carrying a balloon filed with urine. The balloon burst on the teen when he was approached by police and the teen was not arrested, just covered with urine. The protest pen measures 26,000 to 28,000 square feet. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock wrote that, “a written description cannot begin to convey the ambience of the DZ site.” Inside the convention twenty portable restrooms, like those used on construction sites, are lined up in front of the media pavilion to service nearly 1,200 members of the print media who will be working around the clock. That’s about 60 serious coffee-drinkers per toilet. Maybe the journalist will start carrying balloons, just in case.


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