Sunday, September 5

Play Book - Snowboarding at Bondi

The NYPD used some of the same tactics at the Republican Convention that I experienced first hand in Washington DC. It makes me so frustrated to hear that police can conduct mass arrests like these with impunity. The excerpt below is from an article buried deep in the New York Times. Note that even though the journalist makes it clear that these people were arrested illegally, little is made of the point. As far as I can tell, NPR is the only other mainstream news organization that covered this story. Apparently, massive violations of first amendment rights are not newsworthy.

It is increasingly clear that police departments know that they can illegally arrest large numbers of demonstrators with impunity. Armed with this knowledge they are obviously using the same play book whenever they are faced with large demonstrations. They do it because it works. It keeps people from turning up at all when they know that they risk arrest even if they carefully avoid breaking the law. (See Bree's August 31st post for an example of someone who was successfully deterred from legal protest.)

Anyway, here is the NYT excerpt:

Indeed, the turning point appeared to come as several hundred protesters with the War Resisters League tried to begin a march up Fulton Street that organizers had negotiated with police, although they did not have a permit.
Ed Hedemann, one of the organizers, said their understanding was that if they stayed on the sidewalk and did not block foot traffic or vehicles, they could proceed toward Madison Square Garden.
But within minutes, the protesters were confronted by a line of police officers who told demonstrators they were blocking the sidewalk and would be arrested, although they did not appear to be blocking pedestrian traffic at that point.
A commanding officer, telling the crowd of about 200 "you're all under arrest," ordered other officers to bring the "prison van" and the "orange netting" with which to enmesh the protesters.
"We don't know why we are being arrested, we were just crossing the street," said Lambert Rochfort, who was among the protesters. "We were told if we don't do anything illegal we would be allowed to march on the sidewalk and we did just that. Then they arrested us for no apparent reason."

. . .

NPR also mentioned that many tourists and bystanders had been caught up in these sweeps. In fact, even a man walking to work in a suit was arrested. This is disturbing for two reasons. First, doesn't the NYPD know that the impunity of men in suits is a fundamental tenet of our society? Second, I'm a man who walks to work in a suit! I didn't realize I was putting myself in such danger.

. . .

US readers might want to check out this gallery from the Sydney Morning Herald. In scenes weird enough to be out of The Day After Tomorrow people are snowboarding (on hail) at Bondi Beach. Nicholas also has some good photos from outside his book store.

Finally, as a favor to self confessed 'link whore' Nicholas (designer of this site), here are two spammy links:

Pulp Books - Sydney second hand book shop

Pulp Books - Newtown King Street second hand book shop


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