Friday, December 2, 2011

Journalists suddenly disorderly at OWS, must be arrested for their own safety

I know the right wing has been trying, with some success, to portray OWS protestors as violent and disruptive, but since when did so many U.S. journalists turn disorderly?!

Journalists have been arrested on flimsy pretexts not only in New York, LA, Chicago and DC, but also in places like Boston, Nashville, Rochester, Richmond, Milwaukee, Oakland, Atlanta and Chapel Hill. Many say they were only taking photos or interviews, and their press passes were visible. (You can read many of their stories here.)

Police actions at OWS protests against journalists are like something out of Russia or the Arab Spring uprisings, where police -- and their political bosses -- simply do not want any record of their violent crackdowns in the media.

Anyway, all you "strict constitutionalists" and Framer-lovers out there should be concerned with how protesters and journalists have been treated at OWS, even if you don't agree with their politics. Otherwise you are hypocrites and opportunists. This baloney about arresting people who are on public spaces in order to protect them from "unsanitary" or "unsafe" conditions, or to encourage commerce in the area, is absurd, esp. when our "protectors" are blasting them with pepper spray, and denying them food, water, or toilets while they are locked up for hours in cages and paddy wagons.

There is nothing in the The First Amendment which allows government to abridge "the right of the people peaceably to assemble" because they are smelly, offensive to your sensibilities, or discourage somebody from shopping nearby. A protest by definition is not a cuddle fest; it's supposed to make somebody in power uncomfortable.

By Josh Stearns
December 2, 2011 | Storify

1 comment:

Josh said...

Thanks for linking out to the journalism arrest tracking blog - total is now 31 journalists arrested in 10 different cities in the last 2 months.