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Announcement :: DNC
no-DNC Legal and Security Updates
24 Jul 2004
Modified: 09:07:34 PM
What follows is the most current information we have on legal and security in Boston.
Before you come to town, we'd like you to know what the situation looks like on the ground.

What follows is the most current information we have on legal and security in Boston. For the National Lawyers Guild's "Massachusetts Demonstrators' Manual," please see

For a map to help you understand the security zones and to see where all entrances to the zones actually are, please download our PDF map at

For all other logistical information, please visit

Without further adieu, here's a breakdown of what we know about security and legal:

***************************************** HARD ZONE - the Fleet Center north to the waterfront ***************************************** -only credentialed delegates, media, and employees are allowed in -there is a security tent and magnetometers at entrance -delegates will be bused in (the bus terminal is in the soft zone) -surrounded by 8' fence with opaque black covering -controlled by Secret Service -there are restrictions on air traffic and water traffic around the Fleet Center, as well as street and highway closures (detailed information is in our Boston Guide)

***************************** FREE SPEECH ZONE - in the soft zone ***************************** -people with "large" bags or people who "look suspicious" will be searched -other bags might be searched (the cops say they will do this only if they have reasonable suspicion) -if you do not consent to a search, you will be "removed" from the area -no signs with wooden/plastic/otherwise hard sticks (cardboard tubes okay), umbrellas, or basically anything you could carry that cops might say could be used as a weapon -no "inappropriate" clothing allowed -narrow, low access points will make it hard for people to get in an out safely (one is only 5.5' high) -the area has old elevated train tracks above it (and support beams from the ground level) -29,000 square feet total -holds 1,000 people -there is a stage, speakers and a portable microphone inside -no tables or chairs allowed inside -police horses may be inside zone -no vehicles allowed inside -no bicycles allowed inside -there is a 12' double fence between the FSZ and delegate bus terminal that is made of 4' of concrete on the bottom and 8' of metal fence with netting over it -there is netting over the entire top of the FSZ, closing the space in -there is razor wire at the top of the fences/around the train tracks

****************************** SOFT ZONE - south of the Fleet Center ****************************** -an 8' fence will be put around the entire area, on the sidewalk nearest to the zone -there are only four designated access points to get in or out of this zone -people with "large" bags or people who "look suspicious" will be searched -no bicycles -no tables or chairs allowed inside -no signs with wooden/plastic/otherwise hard sticks (cardboard tubes okay) -no vehicles allowed inside (it is unclear if this includes police motorcycles) -no bicycles allowed inside -no bomb-sniffing dogs allowed inside (they will be with the National Guard just outside of the zine and at the entrances) -controlled by Boston Police (though BPD reports to federal agencies)

********************* CITY OUTSIDE THE ZONES ********************* -no parking on many city streets -newspaper boxes have been removed from most of downtown -trash cans have been removed from much of downtown -mail boxes have been removed from much of downtown

*********** POLICE STATE *********** -the Secret Service is generally in charge -FBI is responsible for "crisis management and responding to threats" -Federal Emergency Management Association is responsible for the "preparation and mitigation of any major crisis that occur" -Boston Police Department will report to those three agencies -Massachusetts State Police are working alongside the BPD -the National Guard, Coast Guard, and "civil support" are also assisting, reportedly with no law enforcement or arrest powers -no private security firms have been hired to help -the "Tactical Unit" of the BPD will be present for "crowd control" - they do not carry handcuffs and are not empowered to arrest (famous in Boston for wearing black-on-black with no badges, we have been told the tactical unit will have badge numbers on the left breast of their shirts and on their helmets) -Staties are in charge of keeping an eye on Beacon Hill -Delegates' hotels will have anywhere from one officer to a whole squad guarding them 24/7 -the subway system (and likely some buses) will be conducting searches at all entrances - you won't be able to ride public transportation without consenting to a search -police will have tear gas and pepper spray -police will have paintball guns with permanent ink (weapon specs at -Boston police will NOT have tasers (though it is unclear whether federal agencies will have them) -it is unclear whether police will have projectiles (we have been told police would have all of the "usual" weapons that they normally carry) -we are told police will not be able to arrest people without approval or under orders from commanding officers (though police may arrest without such orders if they are acting in self-defense)

************** MEDICAL IMPACT ************** -cops will not recognize street medics or allow them into the jails -there will be doctors at the prison where protesters are taken -people injured on the street will be taken to Mass General Hospital ( - if you do not want to go to a hospital, please yell for a medic and make it known that you don't want to be taken to a hospital

********************* TRANSPORTATION IMPACT ********************* -many roads, highways, commuter rail & subway trains are closed or functioning on strange schedules - please review transportation information at before you come

******************************** ARREST, JAILS, BAIL & JAIL SOLIDARITY ******************************** -The National Lawyers Guild has a 24-hour emergency legal number, 617.723.4330 -The NLG is prepared to defend all arrested protesters through trial -The Boston Anarchist Black Cross is prepared to support jail solidarity and help bail people out (ABC funds will not be able to sustain mass arrests, so donations and people with their own bail money are appreciated and needed) -All adults arrested for protest will be taken to Suffolk County House of Correction -All minors will be taken to MBTA Police Headquarters -All court appearances will take place at tyhe Roxbury Division of Boston Municipal Court Department (addresses and directions for these and other jails and courts are at -You can be held for 24 hours (or until Monday morning if arrested on a weekend) before you have to be arraigned in Massachusetts (though cops interviewed in local press suggested they might try to hold some people until the DNC is over) -"speedy" trial is considered one year -minors who are arrested in Massachusetts have historically needed a parent/guardian present to bail them out. We are going to do our best to get minors out, but it may be tough if you're a minor from out of town. A lawyer told us one possibility is having a note from a parent specifying that you are not a runaway and naming adults (names and addresses) who can pick you up. Meanwhile, police have said the procedure will be the same as it always is. -for Know Your Rights and Dealing With Cops information, please go to the "Legal and DNC Security" section at

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Re: no-DNC Legal and Security Updates
25 Jul 2004
Secret Serpents