"It's Time To Get REALLY Mad!"

Americans, You're Freedoms Are Being Trampled Again!

by Edward Langenback

© 03/25/04

My wife and I watched a recent episode of "The Practice" in which one of the clients was on trial for punching a police officer. What made that case special was the reason the woman struck the officer. She struck out in anger when told that because she held a sign expressing an opinion critical of presidential policy, she would have to move to a "Free Speech Zone" located several miles away from the route the president's motorcade would travel. In the meanwhile people with signs expressing opinions favorable to President Bush's policies were allowed to be along the route where they could actually be seen, while the protestors were safely penned up several miles away with no press coverage.

Because I know that these programs are often based on real life situations, I decided to do some looking around to see if there was any reality to this. What I found was evidence that the Bill of Rights is something that some people think they can just trample over anytime it's convienient. The following articles are just a small sample of what showed up when I went to google and entered +"Free Speech Zone" in the search box.

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Life In A Free Speech Zone
by Joe Tarr

Prelude: October 8, 2002

President Bush is in town for a noon luncheon. He is stumping for gubernatorial candidate Van Hilleary, but there is a war brewing and Bush doesn't waste the opportunity to make his case.

"If they won't deal with [Saddam Hussein], the United States will lead a coalition to deal with this man-for the sake of peace," Bush tells the crowd, which raised him at least $750,000.

Outside are about 200 people who take issue with the president's pugnacious stance. They carry anti-war signs, perform street theater and chant. But getting their message heard is not so easy today. Police confine the protesters to a parking lot across Henley Street from the convention center.

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By the way, let's not get the idea that President Bush is the only one keeping protesters safely tucked away where they have little if any actual voice.

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Published on Friday, February 20, 2004 by the Boston Globe
Convention Plan Puts Protesters Blocks Away
by Rick Klein

Protesters at this summer's Democratic National Convention in Boston may be confined to a cozy triangle of land off Haymarket Square, blocked off from the FleetCenter and convention delegates by a maze of Central Artery service roads, MBTA train tracks, and a temporary parking lot holding scores of buses and media trucks.

Under a preliminary plan floated by convention organizers, the "free-speech zone" would be a small plot bounded by Green Line tracks and North Washington Street, in an area that until recently was given over to the elevated artery. The zone would hold as few as 400 of the several thousand protesters who are expected in Boston in late July.

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Hiding protestors in 'Free Speech Zones' is cowardly and un-American
By Charles Levendosky
Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune

President Bush has never been an advocate of the First Amendment. Even when he was governor of Texas, he prohibited demonstrations on the walkways in front of the governor's mansion, an area which had traditionally been used for peaceful protests.

As president, Bush has widened his restrictions on demonstrations against his policies. Anti-Bush protesters are now relegated to what are euphemistically called Free Speech Zones. These areas are cordoned off as far as a mile away from the president and the main thoroughfares, so that Bush cannot see the demonstrators, or their signs of protest, nor hear their chants.

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"Free-Speech Zone"
The administration quarantines dissent.
By James Bovard

On Dec. 6, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft informed the Senate Judiciary Committee, "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty - your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and - give ammunition to America’s enemies." Some commentators feared that Ashcroft’s statement, which was vetted beforehand by top lawyers at the Justice Department, signaled that this White House would take a far more hostile view towards opponents than did recent presidents. And indeed, some Bush administration policies indicate that Ashcroft’s comment was not a mere throwaway line.

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Free Speech Zones and John Ashcroft

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The United States Government now makes the use of so- called "Free Speech Zones" to restrict the peaceable assembly and petitioning of American citizens.

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