Skip to comments.Convention demonstration zone a dark, shadowy place
Posted on 07/24/2004 4:36:36 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
BOSTON (AP) - As thousands of delegates, journalists and dignitaries stream into the FleetCenter, protesters for the next few days will be enclosed in a shadowy, closed-off piece of urban streetscape just over a block away. The maze of overhead netting, chain link fencing and razor wire couldn't be further in comfort from the high-tech confines of the arena stage where John Kerry is to accept the Democratic nomination for president during the four-day convention that kicks off Monday.
Abandoned, elevated rail lines and green girders loom over most of the official demonstration zone that slopes down to a subway station closed for the duration. To avoid hitting girders, tall protesters will have to duck at one end of the 28,000-square-foot zone. Train tracks obscure the line of sight to much of the FleetCenter. Concrete blocks were set around streets in the area, a transportation hub on the north side of downtown.
Protesters likened the site Saturday to a concentration camp as they complained it is too far from the FleetCenter to get their messages across, even though the site is next to a parking lot where many delegates will pass on foot en route to the arena.
Authorities say - and a judge agreed - the discomforts are needed for security in the post-Sept. 11 era.
On a rainy morning made darker by overhead girders, protest leaders held a news conference at the demonstration zone Saturday to object to the site. Some called it a violation of their free-speech rights. As they spoke, pools of rainwater collected on pavement.
"We don't deserve to be put in a detention center, a concentration camp," said Medea Benjamin of San Francisco. "It's tragic that here in Boston, the birthplace of democracy, our First Amendment rights are being trampled on."
Two fellow protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink, who dressed in pink Statue of Liberty garb, taped their mouths shut. Some activists said while they understand the need for security, organizers went overboard.
"We are on high, high red alert for the protection of our civil liberties," said Claryce Evans, national coordinator for United Peace and Justice. American Civil Liberties Union and National Lawyers Guild attorneys asked a federal judge to open up or move the zone.
U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock this past week called the conditions "an affront to free expression" and a "festering boil." He refused to order changes, but is letting protesters march past the site Sunday. A coalition of protesters appealed to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Authorities said they were lowering the maximum number of protesters to 1,000, from a previous 4,000, because of concerns of overcrowding.
U.S. Secret Service agent guards the podium for the Democratic National Convention at the FleetCenter in Boston, July 24, 2004. Security is being gradually increased before the July 26 start of the convention, where Democratic candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) is set to formally accept his party's nomination. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)
If I could be there, I would NOT stay in the concentration camp - I would be nicely and calmly walking down the street IN FRONT of the dimocrat politburo selections.
I would NOT be a peaceful victim if someone dared lay a hand on me.
This is America! Give 'em all guns and front row seats!!
Anyone wanna get a pool going on how long it takes the protesters to knock the fence down (rounded to the nearest hour)?
I'll take 5 hours.
I really don't like that these measures had to be taken, but so many of these people have brought it on themselves. They have caused so much destruction in other places in the past. Couple that with the very real terrorism alerts, and this seems a good precaution to make.
They DNC can own Boston. We'll own cyberspace.
Well at least these security measures were laid down at the DNC convention first.
If the Republican convention had been first and something like this would have been erected to house protestors, can you imagine how the press would be screaming.
Two fellow protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink, who dressed in pink Statue of Liberty garb, taped their mouths shut.Good move! Need more tape? Let me know. I'll donate a roll. Or 10.
Where is the ACLU? :-] lol
The Republican convention will likely have a similar "camp" for protesters, and it'll be viewed predictably bad by the press. Of course, said press will conveniently forget how the protesters were caged during the Dems convention...
Some liberal judge I think ruled that there can be no pens and that protesters can be free to wreak havoc on the city during the RNC in NY actually.
This is something that I dont understand. Are the people protesting the DNC convention left of the DNC or right of the DNC. Usually, when there is violence or riots it is always the far leftists and Anarchists. But why would those people bother to protest the DNC?
Also, I predict that the RNC will catch hell from the media for their security. Meanwhile, the DNC security is just to keep out terrorists.
Kerry would obtain their approval only if he divorced his billionaire widow and married a Communist transsexual defrocked priest... in Massachusetts it's legal, didn't you know?
Protestor Clothing for DNC Convention.
This is how they should look inside The Cage.
This same crowd of wackos was unhappy about the "free speach" zone set up for the 2000 rat convention in L.A. as well.
They rioted, and tried to assault the Staples Center but were out-manouvered by LAPD. The bad guys ended up being pushed up Olympic Blvd. all the way under the 110 freeway and right out of downtown.
They're going to have heat strokes. What a shame.
***Well at least these security measures were laid down at the DNC convention first.
If the Republican convention had been first and something like this would have been erected to house protestors, can you imagine how the press would be screaming.***
YEP! The liberals sure know how to pick the sites and the times, don't they? IDIOTS!
I wonder if the leftist rat demonstrators will get this treatment in New York? Not.
Don't fence us in: Activists shun `protest pen'
By Dave Wedge
Sunday, July 25, 2004
The city has permitted more than 100 rallies and protests during the Democratic National Convention, but just 10 are slated for the so-called ``free speech zones.''
Rallies by groups ranging from Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry to the Billionaires for Bush to the Bl(A)ck Tea Society have secured permits for various locations around the city, including Copley Square, Boston Common, Holocaust Memorial Park and City Hall. The Boston police union also has been permitted for pickets.
The revelation that most of the major protesting will not take place in the ``protest pen'' comes after a federal judge ruled that the demonstration zone was legal.
The fenced-in area, which is adjacent to the FleetCenter and shrouded in netting and barbed wire, initially was built to hold 4,000 people, but the judge reduced the capacity to 1,000. Protesters have vowed not to use it and are posting messages online to stay out of the ``protest pens''
``The caging of protesters at the DNC is outrageous,'' said Bill Dobbs of United for Peace and Justice.
Activists have posted a scathing report by a Gloucester security expert who claims the protest pen is a deathtrap - and security overall at the DNC is ``absolutely appalling'' in its weaknesses.
Security consultant Jim Atkinson says he's documented lapses ranging from unlocked gates around the FleetCenter to unprotected ventilation systems in the media pavilion.
Perhaps most troubling is his claim that more than 400 manhole covers in the area are unsecured and appear not to have been swept for explosives.
But Boston police spokesman David Estrada said security is tight. ``It's something we've been preparing for since the day we got word that the DNC was coming to Boston,'' he said. ``We're working with several federal and state agencies to be prepared for the worst.''
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