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    Preemptive Crowd Control

    ‘I am seriously worried about the way protesters are being
    singled out, and met with violent and unaccountable behavior, for
    legal free speech activity, by police in America,’ writes Kirsten
    Anderberg in a posting to Infoshop.org. Unfortunately, anyone who
    heard about the Robocop-like police presence at Miami’s FTAA
    protests in November has reason to concur with her fear. As
    Anderberg points out and aggressive police tactics demonstrate,
    protesting — as a form of peaceful free speech or not — is
    definitely not welcomed by the guardians of law and order

    According to Anderberg, not only are police more likely to show
    up at protests than at other potentially dangerous large public
    gatherings (like sporting events), they are also more likely to
    treat protesters questioning the government more harshly than those
    supporting administration policies. She points to a Seattle
    anti-war protest in March, 2003, at which she claims Seattle police
    demonstrated a double-standard that favored pro-war protesters and
    unduly cracked down on anti-war protesters. ‘These riot police
    serve a political purpose of intimidation, and of paternalistic,
    public repression of free speech,’ she writes.

    Responses to Anderberg’s posting seem mostly supportive of her
    claims. ‘I think that any public gathering that lets people get
    control of the spaces around them instead of cops or business is
    dangerous to authority,’ argues one reader with the handle Peligro.
    Other respondents cite instances of police brutality or offered
    techniques for avoiding the wrath of riot police. The bottom line:
    don’t expect fair treatment if you’re protesting government
    Erica Wetter

    Go there>> Preemptive Crowd

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    Published on Jan 1, 2004


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