Free Speech *Zones* Are Back... for the National Democratic Party Convention Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Free Speech *Zones* Are Back... for the National Democratic Party Convention
 


4 August 2008 at 2:30:31 PM
salon

I remember that the powers-that-be at the Democratic Convention in 2004 wanted to be sure that nothing spoiled the particular PR event they intended to have. Nobody could attend bringing their own signs, and if you wanted to protest, you couldn't do it where anyone could see you. I clipped this from Ron Reagan Jr talking about the *freedom cages* from then.

Well, it seems while having big old AT&T signs all over the place are fine (because they are coughing up the big bucks for their buddies who helped them get off the hook for breaking the law), allowing people who would like to be within, say, VIEWING distance of the convention center aren't allowed to be. Naturally, this didn't sit too well with people who, er, wanted to exercise FREE SPEECH and they took it to court.

 Political activists squared off against the U. S. Secret Service and Denver city officials in federal court Tuesday to argue that parameters laid down for their protests during the Democratic National Convention represent an infringement of their free speech rights.

No ruling was forthcoming from U.S. District Judge Marcia S. Krieger, who still needs to hear lawyers' final arguments, which are set for Thursday afternoon.

At the heart of the dispute is that protesters claim the city has violated the promise of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to allow them within sight and sound of the Pepsi Center - and, now, Invesco Field at Mile High for Sen. Barack Obama's acceptance speech - during the DNC, which kicks off Aug. 25.

They're outraged that they will be able to get no closer to the Pepsi Center than a fenced 47,000-square-foot "public viewing area" being established in the Pepsi Center's parking lot A, on the far side of an expansive tent utilized as a media pavillion for media covering the convention.

Here's an article that expresses my beliefs about this as well. You Can't Keep Free Speech in a Chain-Link Cage.

Imagine that a street preacher arrives in town and sets up a figurative soapbox on a Main Street sidewalk. Every day, from sunup to sundown, he harangues the local citizenry, denouncing their lifestyle and urging them to repent. Many passersby stop merely to witness the spectacle, finding entertainment in the man’s rantings. A few others pause and listen intently because the message has moved them to reconsider their ways. Others go out of their way to mock the man and attempt to draw him into arguments with which they hope to prove him the fool.

Should the man be allowed to cause such a stir within the community?

What if, instead of preachers, it was political protesters? Perhaps areas could be fenced off so that those who want to speak or rant or yell could do so without the risk of physical confrontation. And each group could be assigned a specific time to protest. Should that happen? No. It shouldn’t.

Nor should the city of Denver confine protesters during the Democratic National Convention to government approved, fenced-off protest areas and to government-approved protest times.


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Comments

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