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Saturday, April 22, 2006

[POLITICAL CULTURE] I am living in a very strange country. Strange, that is, if you're a born-and-bred New Yorker.

A group of about 50 Mohawks decided to block the railroad from Montreal and Ottawa to Toronto, to make a point about a land dispute elsewhere in Ontario.

The Canadian National railroad then went to court to get an injunction to remove the Indians.

And I'm thinking, right, that's going to get them off the tracks. 'Cause an injunction is really going to impress people who are ALREADY BREAKING THE LAW. Why don't they just get about 1000 Pinkertons and drag them off the damn tracks? And sue them for the economic damage?

Hell, the NYPD removed several thousand Democratic protestors from downtown during the Republican convention, and they weren't blocking anything, they were just exercising their First Amendment rights.

This morning, the Indians removed themselves. 'Cause, y'know, there was an injunction.

It's weird. It's like living in a nation of ... grownups.



Not that I disagree with your point, I absolutely do, the police have a right to stop those breaking the law, as the mohawks did.

the nyc protest was a different matter. First, there was more than several thousand people arrested, there were so many arrest that they couldn't be held in city jails and special pens were set up just to house protesters on the docks.

Secondly, the people protesting and marching had already applied for the necessary permits to protest from the city and were exercising their civil and legal right of protests. So in the case of the arrests during the repub convention, the arrests were unlawful because most of the people arrested were not breaking the law. It's also why most of the charges were dropped, because they shouldn't have been arrested. That's the crucial difference from your case on the train tracks.

In fact, the nypd just got a big net and scooped up everyone on the street, whether they were there to protest or walking home on the sidewalk. There are countless cases, verified, of folks not involved with the protest who went out to the deli and got snapped up on the sidewalk, in the net, and arrested, thrown in a cold pen for three or four days without seeing a judge or lawyer only to have their case dismissed.

the majority of the arrests in nyc were of law abiding folk exercising their legal rights and were unlawfully arrested and imprisioned for it.

By Blogger Joshua James, at 12:40 PM  

I meant, in my first sentence above, that I do not disagree with your point, not that I do. My apologies.

By Blogger Joshua James, at 6:59 PM  

I wasn't exactly approving of Bloomberg's action, y'know. I'd'a thought "they were just exercising their First Amendment rights" should have been the tip-off!

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 7:36 PM  

Not just a first amendment right, for that's fair, but there's also the "don't yell fire in a crowded theatre" restriction . . . and a fair one at that.

The people protesting were not just simply exercising their first amendment rights (though that was a part of it) but their legal right (granted by permit FROM THE CITY) to march in protest. What makes it terrible is that during the course of that legally sanctioned act, they were arrested for doing that even though there were no other crimes being commited (and as I mentioned, some people who weren't even involved were arrested, there's an infamous case of the guy who went out to get chicken soup for his sick girlfriend and was arrested on the sidewalk right outside his building - arrested is not right, he got herded up in the big tuna nets they snared people with - he got pinched and throw into a cage and his girlfriend had no idea where he was for three days) - it's important to repeat that. No crimes were commited (and plenty of video to substantiate that) - it was really a terrible time in this country and city. there were cops who plainly stated that none of the protesters would be released until after the convention, which makes one think that it was a part of the plan to keep the bigoted repubs safe from protesters and prompted a judge to fine the city for every person they held longer than 24 hours. Legally, the city or state cannot hold someone longer than a day without charging them.

It's too bad, because other than that, Bloomberg is actually a pretty good mayor who's accomplished many things that I admire (and is now taking on the NRA) - I like him, but I think he really went astray during the convention.

Well. Just making conversation, it's a hot topic with my friends and I, politics. I don't remember politics ever being such a subject of discussion in america in all walks of life (though I'm told it was this way in the sixties) so perhaps good will come out of all the difficult things happening now.

By Blogger Joshua James, at 2:40 PM  

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