Pressuring protesters

August 16th, 2004 – 7:57 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

Planning on heading to New York to protest during the Republican National Convention? The FBI would like to have a word with you.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been questioning political demonstrators across the country, and in rare cases even subpoenaing them, in an aggressive effort to forestall what officials say could be violent and disruptive protests at the Republican National Convention in New York.

F.B.I. officials are urging agents to canvass their communities for information about planned disruptions aimed at the convention and other coming political events, and they say they have developed a list of people who they think may have information about possible violence. They say the inquiries, which began last month before the Democratic convention in Boston, are focused solely on possible crimes, not on dissent, at major political events.

The ACLU doesn’t quite see it that way (and I agree with them).

“The FBI’s intimidation and interrogation of peaceful protesters brings back eerie echoes of the days of J. Edgar Hoover,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. “Resources and funds established to fight terrorism should not be misused to target innocent Americans who have done nothing more than engage in lawful protest and dissent.”

Exactly why is the Joint Terrorism Task Force spending time, money and manpower to intimidate investigate protesters who, even if they do cross the line into illegal activities, will most likely be throwing trash cans through the windows of the nearest Starbucks, or tossing a few rocks at the riot police? That hardly sounds like terrorism to me. Maybe they should be spending their resources on trying to stop the next Al Quaeda attack, instead of trying to push around anti-Bush protesters?

[via Buzzflash]

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