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News :: Human Rights
Protesting the MBTA search policy
01 Jul 2004
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.
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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.

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@yahoo.com

This article was edited by IMC Editor S. Eppler to provide hyperlinks.
See also:
http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/22884/index.php

This work is in the public domain.
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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.
Re: Protesting the MBTA search policy
08 Jul 2004
We're planning another bigger rally of the same sort this Tuesday at Park st. This time, NPR will probably be recording the singing and it's very likely ABC national will cover the event. Tuesday July 13th, 8am, Park st. Station.
Re: Protesting the MBTA search policy
08 Jul 2004
Just so everyone knows, the National Lawyers Guild mentioned above has buttons saying "I Do Not Consent to a Search". You can find it here: http://www.nlgmass.org/NLG_Button.pdf
I am sure you can call and pick some up from their general site (above) and I know the American Friends Service Committee has the buttons as well. Also, Bl(A)ck Tea Society is passing out NLG flyers hoping to educate T riders on the issue. Six of us met today, July 8, at Copley and passed out the flyers, among other flyers.
Re: Protesting the MBTA search policy
21 Jul 2004
For those who don't know this is called proactive approaches to possible threats. LOKK AT THE BIG PICTURE. Im sure you will not be complaining when they do find something that will potentially kill 1000's, YES 1000's of people. YOU want to complain about crime but you keep tying the hands of LAW ENFORCEMENT.
Re: Protesting the MBTA search policy
23 Jul 2004
I am no expert but these "proactive approaches" don't seem to be steps in the right direction. I feel like they plant seeds of fear at a time when crime rates are actually dropping. These "possible threats" seem to be created by the media and powerful classes to maintain a culture of fear and struggle when we should be uniting to promote what is really important: not security, because we already have that, but healthcare and education and a clean alternative energy policy.
Re: Protesting the MBTA search policy
23 Jul 2004
Are crime rates dropping? Why might that be? More law enforcement doing more to keep things secure maybe?
We already have security? Tell that to the families of the people on the 911 aircraft or in the towers. You may feel secure but you really do need to get that education you speak of.
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06 Jun 2006
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