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News :: Human Rights : Politics : Social Welfare
Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
28 Apr 2006
Today, during the inaugural ceremony of Robert Brown as Boston University's 10th president, a biolab protestor was arrested after speaking up against the lab - while two other protestors were escorted off the premises. “Boston University has now resorted to arresting those who voice opinions against the biolab. What next?” said Dylan Bergman, area resident. “It’s pretty clear they’ll do whatever it takes in order to silence the issue.”
brown_1_1.jpg
Today at approximately 4:10 pm, Boston University Police arrested an Operation: Over activist in the middle of Robert Brown’s inaugural ceremony. The activist was arrested inside the Agganis Arena in protest of the Biosafety level-4 lab being constructed in Roxbury. The action was conducted as part of a larger three-year struggle waged by a coalition of area residents against the BU Biolab.

While several protestors handed out information to attendees, police officers filled the sidewalk surrounding the building, taking pictures and milling about.

While activists on the outside handed out information and spoke to passersby, on the inside, several BU students were preparing to raise the issue of the Biolab during the inaugural ceremonies. After two BU students spoke up, they were escorted out of the arena, threatened with suspension and arrest, and warned to stay off Boston University property for twenty-four hours. A third individual was arrested by BU police and taken in handcuffs to be booked in the BUPD headquarters next door. He is being held until further notice; no release date has been given.
“Boston University has now resorted to arresting those who voice opinions against the biolab. What next?” said Dylan Bergman, area resident. “It’s pretty clear they’ll do whatever it takes in order to silence the issue.”

The protesters are urging both city and state officials to fulfill their roles as public servants, to ban the BSL4 component of the lab, and to uphold existing Public Health law regarding recombinant DNA research to protect the people of Boston.
Operation: Over is a campaign of non-violent direct action against militarism in Boston communities.
See also:
http://operationover.freeyouth.net

This work is in the public domain.
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To Help
27 Apr 2006
If you want to help with bail, paypal donations are being accepted on the Operation: Over website at http://operationover.freeyouth.net
pics of BU biolab demo
27 Apr 2006
from outside the President's inauguration
BU Biolab protest pics
27 Apr 2006
Click on image for a larger version

biolab1.jpg
Click on image for a larger version

biolab2.jpg
Click on image for a larger version

biolab3.jpg
pics
See also:
http://operationover.freeyouth.net
pics
27 Apr 2006
Click on image for a larger version

biolab4.jpg
Click on image for a larger version

biolab5.jpg
Click on image for a larger version

biolab6.jpg
pics
See also:
http://operationover.freeyouth.net
http://operationover.freeyouth.net
arrest update
27 Apr 2006
the person who got arrested has been released on bail.
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
28 Apr 2006
Protestors use overkill. Mr. Brown knows what the issue is. The disruption is a good excuse not to take the anti lab groups seriously. Even if Brown doesn't take them seriously anyway, the real power at a University resides in a combination of donors and the Board first, second the bureaucrats, third the faculty, finally the students. Possibly if parents who pay tuition would intervene, that might have weight, but that will not happen and would be very difficult at a huge and diverse school like BU.

The tactic was counterproductive. Unless the state and local politicians are convinced this lab will harm their constituents, there is no reason to think that the school feels it must do anything. Disruption is a civil disobedience alternative to force, but unless there is a pr and political campaign behind civil disobedience (the US Civil Rights movement in the 60s, civil disobedience actually helps the institutional power being challenged. Right now, BU is in the position of looking after public health; the protestors look like children who stomp feet if they don't get their way.

If there is a legitimate public health problem with the lab, the media and public need to be convinced. Juvenile tactics will not convince and they certainly will not compel Brown to do anything. If anything he gets a sympathy vote from the key elements that really control the school.
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
28 Apr 2006
BU will do anything to silence protestor? If I come ilnto any of your homes and night and give a rant about stopping illegal immigration, and you forcibly kick me out, or call the cops, are you doing anything to "silence" me?
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
28 Apr 2006
rockhead, it's true that we need to convince local and state politicians to oppose this lab (there are quite a few of them on our side already), and a big part of that is making it a campaign issue that their constituents care about, which means getting the public on our side too.

we also need to convince the BU community (students, faculty, workers, and people in the administration) to oppose this lab. even undemocratic and authoritarian institutions like boston university, where the faculty and students have no formal say in the administration's decisions, can be swayed by putting pressure on the leaders. we have a lot of the BU community on our side too.

i believe that most people would oppose this lab if they knew it was being built and if they were informed about all the issues surrounding out (there are tons). the hard part is getting our message out- standing on the street handing out fliers is really useful and we reach thousands of people that way, but we reach even more when we get media. and in this campaign, since BU and menino and all the other big money forces that have all the power have a huge sway in the media, the _only_ way we can get this issue covered is by doing direct action and civil disobedience. we've had forums, press conferences, plenty of speeches, and all sorts of other stuff, but none of it gets as much media attention as a single house demo, which takes about an hour to plan, if that. media attention- informing the public about this controversial issue, is what we need to stop this lab.

and we _do_ have a PR and political campaign behind the civil disobedience. it's not just operation: over working on this campaign, it's a large and diverse coalition who's doing everything from running to office on the anti-biolab ticket to sueing BU for civil rights violations because of this lab. the only thing that you hear about is us disrupting shit and getting arrested- but if we weren't doing this, you probably wouldn't even know the biolab was an issue.

an incredible amount of people, including a lot of those people in fancy robes going to the inauguration, and including one of the cops who was assigned to watch us, have told us that they support what we're doing and are against the lab. we've turned this into a serious issue on BU's campus, when before nobody knew about it, and we're trying to do that with the larger boston community as well.

and flipside, that PI taking pictures of us was an on-duty cop working for the BUPD. he just wasn't in uniform. i asked.
Progress
29 Apr 2006
Good response to my post michah. Still a bit too much emphasis on the "only" way you can bring issue to public is thru civil disobedience, but that's your position and i'm not going to change it. anyway, what's done is done.

so you have a legitimate grievance. a grievance that affects thousands if not more people. now the tough part. suggestion: get doctors involved, BU Medical sure, but they might be worried about their funding from University. well, Boston's health capital of country: find out what public health and medical meetings are in boston next several months(there will be something). try to get in, pamphlet, inform, get on program if you have a doctor or public health expert who can speak. Picket(yes, there is a time and place). don't disrupt, you want the docs on your side. Docs are politcally poweerful; some are assholes who put money they make into real estate, etc., but some are still real docs concerned about health. don't worry about whether your allies are politcally correct, can they help you win, and help the unwiting victims of germs that could get out. I have no idea of whether this lab really would be dangerous, but it sounds like you havent gotten a fair hearing. Obiviously, get the common folks in Roxbury out on this too, and their family physicians and health workers.

If you can't win this in Boston, you can't win anywhere!
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
29 Apr 2006
solidarity forever. please keep us posted about the legal situation and about upcoming actions.
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
30 Apr 2006
It's nice when people have strategy suggestions, and criticism can be valuable, but it would have a lot more merit in my estimation if it was coming from someone who was indicating that they'd take their own advice. It's a fine idea to talk to doctors; clearly their opinions tend to be respected. However, I'd really appreciate someone saying: "I'm going to talk to doctors in the area about this issue to encourage them to speak out, maybe you should too," rather than just passing the buck. I know everyone is busy and not everyone has the time to see their ideas through to completion, though. What's more bothersome is when someone looks at a brief posting like this and calls the people involved counterproductive and juvenile without any real basis. Again, consider the fact that regardless of how serious the danger of the BSL4, the media would not have reported on the vocal and visible opposition to the lab had an arrest not taken place. This particular event was attended by all manner of city and university elite. Its whole point is to create good PR.

Before anyone suggests that someone should "get the common folks in Roxbury in on this too," understand that people in Roxbury have been organizing against this for years. If anything, it's everyone else's obligation to shoulder some of the load for once.

None of this is intended just as a response to Rockhead's critique. Rather, it's an invitation to everyone sitting around philosophizing on indymedia while a perfectly good life passes them by to get off the computer and do something. And please don't wait for somebody to post a "call to action."
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
30 Apr 2006
Why does indymedia allow so much censorship?

I've seen several reasonable, polite, but negative posts disappear from this thread.

Who is deleting these messages and why are they scared of dissent?
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
05 May 2006
There has been an ever increasing number of posts that are getting deleted. Censorship is rampant with this site. Those that have the power-control the masses!
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
07 May 2006
it is frustrating trying to navigate the stream of childish insults and other disruptive behavior that seems to plague this imc, but the editors deserve credit for keeping things as civil as it is. there is a whole lot that gets removed, and the disruptive stuff gets dealt with eventually.

also, at least this imc, and probably others too, have stopped logging ip addresses of people who post to the site, since the fbi tried to seize those records a couple years ago. people can voluntarily verify their identities to other readers each time they post but most people don't bother, or at most leave an email address.

in the meantime, try to ignore the trolls and focus on the issue the thread is bringing up. trolls thrive on attention, and the rest of us are here for creating an alternative community of ideas.
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
07 May 2006
good point. I didn't think of it in tems like that. damn it makes me sick that we have to worry to that extent about the feds... I can't believe it's come this far. Auditing, survailance, breakins... I do believe it... It's more that I don't want to believe it.

I don't know why my previous post was deleted?? Why are so many posts getting deleted. I know that the trolls have to be dealt with- obviously, it's ridiculous. But let's not censor eachother. I know you probably had good intentions and all... But of all things to censor.
Thanks,
-H
Re: Biolab Protestor Arrested at BU President Robert Brown’s Inauguration Ceremony
30 May 2006
<h2>test</h2>
illness
03 Jun 2006
Cool!.. Nice work...