New York City’s Union Square Park, which had been a symbol of free speech in the aftermath of 9-11, has now become a symbol of censorship. This AP account appears in today’s Newsday:
NEW YORK (AP) Police cut short a speech by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Monday, arresting a rally organizer whom they said hadn’t obtained audio permits for the event, according to published reports.
Sheehan, the grieving mother whose 26-day vigil near President Bush’s Texas ranch sparked anti-war protests around the country, had nearly finished her speech when police intervened, The New York Times reported.
She was ushered away from the Union Square rally by supporters as onlookers yelled at police and chanted “Let her speak!”
The organizer, Paul Zulkowitz, was released after being given a court summons for charges of unauthorized use of a sound device and disorderly conduct, Detective Kevin Czartoryski told the Times, calling the arrest an “appropriate action.”
But many onlookers were upset by the incident, with some saying it recalled the arrests of more than 1,800 protesters last year at the Republican National Convention.
“This is what’s been happening for the last couple of years,” said the co-chairman of the Green Party’s Manhattan chapter, Daniel Starling, who attended the rally. “Every time we try to hold a demonstration, they arrest us.”
Sheehan, who lost her son in the Iraq war, is calling for the immediate return of troops from the region in a 25-state tour that is set to culminate in an anti-war march in the nation’s capitol on Sept. 24.
See our last posts on Cindy Sheehan and the politics of the anti-war movement.
Falluja on the Hudson?
Sarah Ferguson’s coverage of the Union Square incident in the Village Voice prompted the following letter from one of our fellow travellers: