Early this morning, I watched more than 500 riot police descend on the peaceful protestors of Occupy Oakland with tear gas, bean bag rounds and the booming Long Range Acoustic Device. There were dozens of arrests. And Oakland isn't alone. Occupy movements are under assault in many cities. Tolerating the violation of our First Amendment rights in one place endangers them everywhere else.
We must have a national movement to defend our First Amendment rights. Sign the petition.
Send the message to the mayor and police chief of Oakland and other cities that we have a right to free speech, to free assembly, and to petition our government for a redress of grievances.
These rights do not create themselves. We must defend them vigilantly and eternally.
This morning, Occupy Wall Street protesters celebrated when New York authorities beat a last-minute retreat from clearing Liberty Plaza – as hundreds of labor and other activists rushed to defend the square.
But at the same time this morning, dozens of state troopers in riot gear cleared out Occupy Denver protests. In cities across the country, Occupy protesters have faced police violence and arrests. Some occupations have been forcibly removed while others have stood their ground successfully.
The authorities say we don’t have the proper permits to occupy public spaces. Our permit to occupy is The First Amendment.
Our permit to occupy public squares and parks is in The First Amendment, which affirms “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
When people across the Middle East occupied public squares, leaders in Washington mostly cheered those protesters and warned Middle Eastern governments not to use force to clear them. Those other societies don’t have a First Amendment. Yet Washington affirmed the universal right to assembly and protest.
We do have a First Amendment. The force being used to clear nonviolent protesters from public squares in our country is unacceptable. It must stop.
And then view the powerful “I Am Not Moving” video that exposes Washington’s hypocrisy in applauding occupations in the Middle East, while force and violence are used against nonviolent protesters across our land.
Aimee, David, Jeff,
and the RootsAction team