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Hidden with code "Submitted as Feature"
News :: Human Rights
Protesting the MBTA search policy
01 Jul 2004
Modified: 12:01:25 PM
Today, July, 1st at 8am civil liberties advocates gathered at the Park St. Station to protest the MBTA’s new policy of random bag searches. The protest was attended and organized by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Mass., the National Lawyers Guild, the T Riders Union, and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. A group of street actors put on a fake search where they confiscated papers with “the Constitution” and “the Fourth Amendment” written on them. Many protesters also sang “Searching Charlie on the MTA”, a new rendition of the classic. Approximately 50 people attended the demonstration.
Click on image for a larger version

02 08-19 01 JFKUMass.jpg
Today, July, 1st at 8am civil liberties advocates gathered at the Park St. Station to protest the MBTA’s new policy of random bag searches. The protest was attended and organized by community groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Mass., the National Lawyers Guild, the T Riders Union, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee/MA, Centro Presente, The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Northeastern Diocese of St. Francis Assisi, Project Voice of the American Friends Service Committee, United for Justice with Peace, and Women of Action. A group of street actors put on a fake search where they confiscated papers with “the Constitution” and “the Fourth Amendment” written on them. Many protesters also sang “Searching Charlie on the MTA”, a new rendition of the classic. Approximately 100 people attended the demonstration.


The policy, to be implemented in a few days, is to “inspect” the bags of randomly selected T riders each day at different stations. The MBTA police have have said that they plan to conduct inspections at four stations at any given time. This leaves over a hundred stations “exposed.” If passengers are not willing to have their bags “inspected” they will not be permitted to ride the train. There is nothing, however, to prevent someone from simply getting on at a different station where inspections are not being carried out. The MBTA Police insists that this measure will help prevent terrorism. The groups protesting, however claimed it would have no impact on our safety and furthermore that it violated the fourth amendment of the constitution which guarantees the right of every person to be “secure in their person… from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Protestors encouraged concerned riders to call Deputy Chief of MBTA Police Martino at (617) 222-1112. For more information on how to get involved contact Teddyaclu (at) yahoo.com

This work is in the public domain

Comments

Re: Protesting the MBTA search policy
01 Jul 2004
One note--the street theater did not have the "police" carrying out blanket searches of all passengers. Instead, the "random" searches focused largely on people of color, whose bags seems to arouse more suspicion. The MBTA's promise that searches will be random are one main concern of those opposed to the policy, as there is a good chance that these will actually lead to profiling.