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Commentary :: Politics
BTL:Mass Arrests of Protesters at GOP Convention in NYC Condemned by...
12 Sep 2004
...Civil Liberties Groups~Interview with Bruce Bentley, lawyer with the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Mass Arrests of Protesters at GOP Convention in NYC Condemned by Civil Liberties Groups

Interview with Bruce Bentley, lawyer with the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, conducted by Scott Harris

The day before Republicans gathered in New York City for their national convention, more than half a million citizens opposed to the Bush administration participated in a massive legal demonstration -- the largest protest ever at a U.S. political convention. While the GOP heard endless speeches and nominated George Bush for re-election, many thousands of activists took part in smaller more militant actions targeting President Bush's decision to wage war against Iraq and his economic, social and environmental policies. During the course of the week, police arrested 1,821 protesters, reporters and innocent bystanders in sweeps launched against dozens of demonstrations and civil disobedience actions. Many of those arrested on minor charges were taken to a city-owned warehouse at Pier 57 dubbed by detainees as "Guantanamo on the Hudson." Some of those arrested complained that while at the detention facility they were exposed to toxic waste that caused burns and respiratory problems.

Civil liberties groups charge New York City police unnecessarily held those arrested for excessive periods of time -- a deliberate policy some activists say -- which was implemented to keep protesters off the streets until after the GOP convention concluded. Hundreds of protesters were released from custody on the last day of the convention after New York Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo threatened to fine the city $1,000 for every detainee held past 5 p.m.

Adding to the concern of those observing the protests and police reaction were the comments of New York City Mayor Bloomberg, who likened protesters who shouted at Republican delegates to terrorists. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with attorney Bruce Bentley, the National Lawyers Guild's RNC Mass Defense coordinator, who takes a critical look at police tactics used in the arrests of protesters in New York City.

Call the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild at (212) 679-6018 or visit the group's website at There, arrestees and witnesses of police actions in New York City may find more information about litigation and can access complaint forms.

Related links:

American Civil Liberties Union at

New York Civil Liberties Union at

Center for Constitutional Rights at

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit: httC://
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions, Inc.
(c)2004 Squeaky Wheel Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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