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The RNC in NYC: The Un-Convention in the Streets

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August 28th
March for Women's Lives

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August 29th
New York and America Say No to Bush

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August 30th
Republican Three-Ring Circus

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August 31st
New York Liberated from Republicans

The RNC to NYC

The RNC in NYC: The Un-Convention in the Streets

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September 2nd
The Coronation of George Bush II

 

Guantanamo on the Hudson 
The story of my unjust arrest during the 2004 Republican National Convention
By Wendy Stefanelli
September 19, 2004

Maybe you've heard recently of the many so-called "anarchists" being locked up in New York at the piers and thrown in jail during the Republican National Convention. I was one of the arrestees -- the falsely arrested -- whom Mayor Michael Bloomberg considered a threat and has compared to the 9/11 terrorists. From the New York Times:

"It is true that a handful of people have tried to destroy our city by going up and yelling at visitors here because they don't agree with their views," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Think about what that says. This is America, New York, cradle of liberty, the city for free speech if there ever was one and some people think that we shouldn't allow people to express themselves. That's exactly what the terrorists did, if you think about it, on 9/11. Now this is not the same kind of terrorism but there's no question that these anarchists are afraid to let people speak out."

Although I have marched in several antiwar protests in the last couple of years, on the night of my arrest, August 31, I was not participating in any protest. Around 8:30 p.m., having just finished work, my friend Gwynne and I were going to go have a drink. We saw hundreds of police running everywhere on 26th Street, then up Park Avenue. A man, who later turned out to be an undercover cop, suggested to us that if we see police going down the street to go the other way because there could be trouble. Mind you, at no point did he tell us that if we did not disperse we would be arrested.

I saw a man -- who said he had done nothing -- being handcuffed and thrown down. The cop was using a lot of force and I asked that he please not hurt this man. Right after, the undercover cop returned. While I was trying to call a friend who might have a camera to document this injustice, the undercover cop ordered two other officers to arrest Gwynne and me.

During the 2004 RNC in New York City, arrestees -- comprising peaceful protestors, innocent bystanders and others -- were handcuffed and made to sit on the sidewalk, sometimes for hours on end.
 
 

There was total chaos. An officer yelled at us to get away. Another grabbed Gwynne's arm, but then let go. Being less fortunate, I was cuffed and thrown on the sidewalk, made to sit with several others. We had been netted in as criminals. I asked one officer if I could use my cell phone with my cuffed hands; he didn't mind. But then I was screamed at by one of his superiors who came over and turned off my phone. No call to the outside world would be allowed. We all sat there while the cops videotaped us and people on the street took photos. After about fifteen or twenty minutes I heard an officer say that they [more]

 

 

The RNC in NYC: The Un-Convention in the Streets
by Mariva H. Aviram
Friday, September 3, 2004

Welcome to New York

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United for Peace and Justice
I should have expected them; it just hadn't occurred to me that they'd be at the airport to greet us. There they were, gathered around the incoming flights, around all the areas we'd be passing or waiting in: the corridors outside the security checkpoints, the escalators, the baggage carousel. They comprised an impressive mix of types: some white, a few of South Asian descent, a bunch of college-age men, one woman who looked like a Midwestern suburbanite. They seemed mildly hopeful while scoping the crowd from the just-deplaned flight, as if looking for a dance partner at the junior high sock-hop. They wandered around, a little bereft after a while. If they'd read the overhead computer screen displaying that our flight had just arrived from San Francisco -- one of the few cities even more liberal than New York -- they might have realized that they weren't going to find their people among us. When our luggage finally arrived, we wheeled our suitcases nonchalantly past these lonely, ignored wallflowers, steadfastly holding their red, white and blue invitations to dance: "Republican National Convention: Welcome Delegates."

We'd arrived just in time for the heat wave, a massive, city-wide sauna as we navigated a labyrinth of public transit terminals, transferring here and there, awkwardly blocking aisles with our luggage, unable to catch a taxi from Penn Station (located right next to Madison Square Garden, the location [more]

 

 

Copyright 2001-2006 Eric Wagner All rights reserved.