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News :: DNC : Human Rights : International
Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
This morning a group of activists gathered at Haymarket Square to hold a demonstration at the Free Speech Pen. Its attempt was to make a link to the repressive tactics that the United States government and the US military employ's against both prisoners of war and domestic dissidents.
24128_gitmo.jpg
[Editor's note: This was a street theater action. Several posters in the comments section said that this was not immediately clear to them.]

At 9:30 am, nearly thirty activists arrived to the gate of the free speech pen. They were greeted by large amounts of corporate media whores,, about as many cops as demonstrators, the military police standing on the catwalks, and two aggessive DNC Free Speech Pen Officers...wearing the bright red DNC 2004 t-shirts and all.

As the demonstrators filed into the pen, the larger of the two officers greeted everyone with a boisterous yell, "Welcome to the DNC Free Speech Camp, line up!" He also said that all of the demonstrators would have their heads covered and the hands bound. This officer of the peace proceeded to hand out the hoods and the bindings and the demonstrators bound themselves.

Then the other officer led the bound and hooded demonstrators in lines of 6 or 7 around the protest pen and lined them up halfway across the pen. They did this to form four lines deep and once all the "detainees" made it into their ranks, the more aggressive officer instructed them to kneel on the ground and lean forward. The two officers walked around and made sure that people had their heads down and didnt speak.

This went on for about ten minutes when the more aggressive officer read aloud a statement. After the statement the detainees were told to stand back up and marched in their ranks back to the original starting point by the entrance. They were lined up there and stood for a little while. The backdrop for this was the fleet center with a large "America for John Kerry" banner in the background or something of the sort.

After standing for a bit, the more aggressive officer instructed the detainees to stand on one foot and hop. He did this a few times with different feet. Then the detainees were marched back across the yard to where they were kneeling before and were lined up and forced to kneel again. The aggressive officer recited the statement again in english and spanish.

Shortly after this the detainees were stood up again, marched back to the entrance and de masked and unbound and then were allowed to disperse.

This action highlighted the repression that activists will face this week in Boston, especially with the over arching free speech pen as a "gift" from the city. This is the werosion of first amendment rights in action and these people made a large statment that will ghopefulyl bring the message into more homes and really help people to realize that this is not what democracy looks like.

ps if you have photos or the statement that was read please post them as a comment to this article!

[Photos added by editor. Originally from: http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/24128/index.php ]

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
Thanks for this.

It sets the tone of the lunacy you're having to deal with. Nothing could have said it better than this excellent little piece.
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
I sincerely hope that this report in not accurate. OTH, photo's would be welcomed.
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
Great use of theater to get your point across. If I am correct the "officers" mentioned where not Real police and just part of the demonstration team. I have seen the Pen and find it to be deplorable as the federal judges who approved of it said as well.

Be safe all and remember there are real human beings on both sides of a protest.

BOB gorman
umass student
ret. cop
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
"9:30am, 7/26, Morning Action at "Free Speech Zone", performance artists demonstrate repression of free speech by dressing as prisoners, with a protester dressed as a "Free Speech Pen Officer" binding, gagging and harrassing actvists in kneeling rows"

Glad to realize that this was performance artists method of protesting the "free speech pen." Not that we are not drawing ever nearer to the real danger of loss of any free speech.

With relief!
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
Here is the text that was read at the action this morning. More info can be found at www.saveourcivilliberties.org.

Begin statement:

We are gathered here today in solemn and silent protest at the incarceration
of pro-democracy demonstrators in the barbwire cage known as the DNC "Free
Speech Zone."

The extremist crackdown by the US government on civil and political freedoms
in the wake of 911 and the war on terror ushers in the age of a "Guantanamo
Bay/Camp X-Ray" approach to marginalizing grassroots movements. It is the
latest in a series of harsh actions taken to constrain the world of ideas
and alternatives by fences, walls and wire.

What does it mean when Boston, a city built on the history of revolutionary dissent, builds a barbaric confine for people who want to express their freedom?

Why do the Democrats remain mute while this assault on democracy occurs in
the shadow of the Fleet Center itself?

From Abu-Ghraib to Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay to the streets of Boston: Is this what democracy looks like?
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
Brilliant, creative, courageous and powerful protest!

Way to link all these issues, which are, ultimately all the same. From Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to the DNC: We all live in a military state!
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
Be careful to stay honest to the story. The people of the world use this to get the real story and not the biased corporate spin. If you publish false articles, then our independent media will lose creditability. Just make sure to check and double check the facts. I had to read the source to get the real story.
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
Yes, it was a theater piece. Having participated, I was confused at first how people could think that it was something else, but you're right,t he article wasn't that clear.

The question is, what else are we doing about it? Specifically, what are the ems doing about it? Kucinich and Dean folks reading this, what will you do to use your leverage against this? Obviously, you have a lot on your plate and your influence is limited, but this sets a horrible precedent.
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
Excellent job. Thanks for the account and pics. Will repost everywhere.
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
26 Jul 2004
The 2 major political parties are obviously threatened more by patriotic, citizen dissent; than they are by their own short-sighted foreign and energy policies. They would do well to get a clue.
Oh good grief...
26 Jul 2004
anybody who didn't pick up on this being street theater needs to get out more anyway...
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
27 Jul 2004
best street theater i've seen in a long time
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
27 Jul 2004
Best action of the day. Thanks to the folks who pulled this together.
kerry or bush gonna be the same damn regeim
27 Jul 2004
you know the votes screwed when both parties try the same tactics

i mean seriously am i the only one to notice this bush tactic in use by kerry

its looking more and more like the facist party of america has come with a sheep as its symbol
if you live in Boston or NYC show your suport and stand for your belief
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
28 Jul 2004
Huzzah for street theater! Your courage and quick action is inspiring!

www.madlibplayers.org
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
28 Jul 2004
this is awesome. i dont know why, but i was surprised to read about the "free speech zone" my parents have always painted the republicans as bad and democrats as good (im only 13) so i guess thats where my disillusion came from. but like reader said, this is lunacy-its disgusting. i hope some democrats got a good view of this demonstration
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
28 Jul 2004
Well, I hate to say it, but what about the other days of the year. Gather a mob to protest before or after these meetings of the political/self-riteous/over zealous conscious's of humans gone crazy. How many laws are actually necessary? how many jails are actually necessary? how many people are really necessary? what function do the humans do, or what have the humans contributed to earth? We destroy and waste more steadily than we should. How about gathering the civily frustrated on the steps of the national Capitol for a change! (i'll bet their are laws to prevent this too, without concent from law makers). It severly disturbs me that politicians are commonly aloud to lie openly, and since the history has demonstrated this tendency... WHY?
Someone should write a book explaining the steps needed to create an society voided of a class system becuase it has never happened in human history. So let's try it.
Explain "standards of living"? What is the standard part?
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
28 Jul 2004
Banking online can be secured, purchasing online can be secured, and both of these screens can be printed. Although, voting cannot be secured? !?!?!?
If the media contributes so much funding to campaigning to either parties... why not just give them equal air time and no money. So that the TV couch people get the ideas of their platform, or list the platform on a website that we the people will hold them to. Differ from the platform and the result will be impeachment.
PS: There are needs that require nationality at all. one earth! one species! balance and future are not opposing concepts.
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
09 Aug 2004
Great way to get the word out... this group was shown on the news numerous times. By the way, the "free speech pen" was a joke. Here are some pictures of the FSP (and other boston sites) taken on the last day of the convention. http://www.ofoto.com/AddCaptions.jsp?&collid=192738247103
Was the baseball netting *really* necessary??
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Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
20 May 2006
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Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
20 May 2006
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Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
20 May 2006
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If it wasn't for this website i would of got a f on my report!
Thanks again

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http://www.xrblog.com/mamaabal/2489/
Re: Morning Action at Free Speech Pen
22 May 2006
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