Skip to comments.ANSWER'S BRIAN BECKER CALLS PHOTOG FREEPER "COCKROACH," "GOV'T. SPY" AT RALLY, INCITES HARASSMENT
Posted on 05/25/2003 12:09:50 AM PDT by kristinn
The Muslim American Society and International A.N.S.W.E.R. organized a rally in Washington, D.C. today to protest (the) Bush attack on Muslims, immigrants, civil rights and civil liberties.
The event, called Muslim Solidarity Day, was held at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Justice Department--the main targets of the protesters wrath.
Though thousands were expected to turn out, barely two hundred and fifty Muslims and Godless commies came out to hear speaker after speaker denounce President Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft, America and Israel.
The Memorial Day weekend weather was cool and overcast, but dry. The roaring sounds of Rolling Thunder riders going by punctuated the sounds of hatred with the sound of liberty.
The advertised lineup of speakers included Democrats Rep. John Conyers and presidential candidate Al Sharpton; A.N.S.W.E.R. commies Brian Becker and Mara Verheyden-Hillard; and Mahdi Bray, President of MAS Freedom.
Conyers and Sharpton were no-shows. However Rep. Conyers sent an aide to speak for him, as did another Democrat presidential candidate--Rep. Dennis Kucinich.
Its just as well those politicians werent present because they would have had to answer whether they agreed with other speakers calls for revolution to replace the American government and praise of suicide bombers as not murderers but martyrs.
They also might have had to answer for the threats of violence and other harassment by rally principals and National Lawyers Guild representatives against two FReepers who exercised their rights to attend the public rally and photograph it.
TgslTakoma and I went down there not to counterdemonstrate, but to check it out. Weve always been busy when the other side does their thing in D.C., so we took the opportunity to take a busmans holiday.
We walked though the crowd wearing our FReeper jackets. We carried no signs and spoke to noone unless spoken to first. TgslTakoma split off to take photos of the crowd and the signs they were carrying.
TgslTakoma was singled out for hostility by Brian Becker when he noticed her photographing him and Mara Verheyden-Hillard as they stood by the stage. Becker walked over and loudly accused tgslTakoma of being a government spy.
Becker and Verheyden-Hillard commented on tgslTakoma being a FReeper, then Verheyden-Hillard conferred with a group of green hat wearing National Lawyers Guild representatives. Soon the group surrounded tgslTakoma in an effort to prevent her from taking pictures.
TgslTakoma called me from her cellphone to inform me of her situation. I walked up from the back of the crowd towards the front to check out the situation. I was stunned to see a green hat right in tgslTakomas face blocking her from taking pictures with her body and hands.
Green hats are supposed to monitor the police to make sure the rights of the participants are protected at their rallies--not violate the civil rights of others. So I walked back to the other end of the plaza and informed the U.S. Park Police officers there about the situation.
By then, Fidel Castro groupie Becker had taken the stage. As I walked back with the officers to tgslTakoma, Becker pointed her out to the audience, accusing her again of taking pictures for the government. He said she was a cockroach, telling the audience, There are two things you can do with a cockroach. You can ignore it, or....you can do something else.
The eyes of the crowd turned toward tgslTakoma. Everyone got a good look at the cockroach. Some took her picture, while others apparently made mental notes about how to deal with the cockroach later.
The officers rebuked the green hats for harrassing tgslTakoma. Though we had a right to be in the crowd and take pictures, we agreed that we would not enter the permitted area of the rally so as to keep the peace.
I pointed out to the officers our experience over the past year with how the green hats would escort demonstrators from their anti-war rallies into our pro-America rallies to test our reactions. Our only objections were when those demonstrators violated our permit by carrying signs contrary to our rallys message or when they tried to shout down our speakers. Anyone was free to take pictures and listen, as we were doing today.
The officers acknowledged that and expressed their appreciation for our understanding of the situation.
The green hat who was waving her hands in front of tgslTakoma took up a post at the edge of the plaza near where we sat down after things were sorted out. She shadowed us for the rest of the rally.
Other rally principals came over and took photographs of us. Boy, was that intimidating (/sarcasm). Some of them got up the nerve to talk to us. One of them, accompanied by a few others, threatened tgslTakoma with grave bodily harm, prompting another walk by me to bring the police back over.
This time, they advised us that without a police witness to the threat it would be a he said she said in front of a magistrate. They went over to the back of the stage and basically told the principals to leave us alone or else.
The police stayed nearby until the rally ended to ensure that we were not harrassed further. While all this was going on we met a couple from North Carolina who had attended a FReeper Rally for America in Raleigh. They hung out with us for part of the rally today and got to witness the intolerant left up close and personal.
Also, a crew filming a documentary on Democracy in America filmed an interview with me. They wanted tgslTakoma to speak too, but she declined.
As we left, the green hat shadowed us all the to the far end of the plaza, breaking off when we stopped to thank the Park Police for being out there today.
BY TGSLTAKOMA: Kristinn had planned to stay home this weekend and catch up on home stuff while I had planned to do a solo trip to the CANSWER/MAS rally to do some freelance photojournalism. Unlike some "journalists" my plan was to just wander quietly in the crowd and along the periphery and take photos of things, signs, people. I like to stay behind my camera, I don't look to make news.
Well, I went into the city with this simple plan and when I saw how few people were at the "massive" event, I called Kristinn and told him that their rally was a flop. So we met up and arrived together at Freedom Plaza. I took a few photos and then told Kristinn that I was just going to wander about and take pictures in the crowd. Kristinn sat on the outer wall and listened to the hate speeches while I meandered.
I noticed Brian Becker and Mara Verheyden-Hillard, King and Queen of WWP/ANSWER, honored guests of MAS - so I started snapping photos of them, from about 50 feet distant. Becker saw me, and quickly turned away. I moved about and took some more shots of him and others, but as a photo subject he bored me, so I focused on other things.
Next thing I know he comes up from behind me on my right and says, "You're from Free Republic!" (I was wearing my FR jacket. Good guess, Becker) "You're here spying for the government!"
I told him that he was way too paranoid. He really was going goofy on me; he said that I couldn't infiltrate his rally and spy on people. I reminded him of the name of the location, Freedom Plaza, and that this was a public event. I said that I was standing out in the open, quietly taking photos, and not disrupting. And I turned my back on him.
He started yelling then, calling over a goon to take my picture. So I smoothed out the name on my jacket, and turned my collar with the Pentagon -9/11 pin towards the goon and I smiled for the camera. Several more of the goons soon arrived, as others on the stage looked my way. Mara joined in on Becker's verbal confrontation. She made a few disparaging remarks about FReepers, and then headed over to the NLG Green Hats. They pow-wowed for several minutes while I moved to the side of the spectator area to take photos of the guest speakers.
Within a minute or two, I was joined by a "female" NLG green hat with her bicycle, and then another, and then a 300lb "security" guy, and then another scrawny one, and then another, and then another. I had six people, two women-types and four males, surrounding me. Whenever I raised my camera, one of them would shift into my camera line-of-sight. I didn't say a word.
I called Kristinn on the cell phone and told him what was happening, as I had been gone 20 minutes and didn't know where he was.
I then moved to front and center in the spectators, figuring that if they were going to do anything, I wanted to be near Pennsylvania Ave side where normal passers-by, and Kristinn were.
Pretty soon my shadows followed me. The bicycle NLG gal became frustrated as I moved my camera from right to left and up and down and left and right. She was looking incredibly foolish running back and forth in front of me, right up in front of the spectators.
She dropped her bike on the ground and began using her hand to block my view, but she still looked silly... waving her hand to-and-fro, up-and-down, in front of the crowd.
Visibly perturbed she then enlisted an olive-skinned male to take over, and he was a little too eager. He shoved me as I had taken camera aim at the stage. The NLG bike gal told him, "Don't touch her. You can't touch her."
I tried to take more photos, but he pushed his sign into my way. So I moved further to the right side of the crowd, and that's when Brian Becker made his "cockroach" speech, and pointed me out to the crowd. Kristinn arrived very soon after with police and we moved to the public sidewalk to continue our observation of this hate-America rally.
Kristinn pretty much covers the rest of the story after we reunited at the sidewalk. What a day! I have lots of photos to link, but it's late, so I may not get them listed here until sometime tomorrow.
What attack? Are these people completely insane? Bush must've (publicly) called Islam "a religion of peace" about 50 times since 9/11.
The commies/Muslims axis of evil .....although I'm surprised they left out Rummy.
I have plenty more photos and will link more tomorrow.
"She" must've been a real beauty.
That's really not very catchy. How about...oh...Dhimmis for Dummies?
I hope you folks are packing heat.
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