Saturday, August 20, 2011

The First Day's Protesters Go to Jail

The Tar Sands Action has begun.  The first group of protester went to the White House and sat down and were arrested.  The Park Police released a small number of them who are from the DC area and kept all the others until Monday morning for a court date.  In the organizer's blog post they said, "On a phone call late this afternoon, U.S. Park Police told organizers of the sit-in that the jail time was expressly intended as a deterrent for future participants."
That's right.  Not only have they declared the sidewalk in front of the White House a First-Amendment-Free zone where standing with signs or sitting down in peaceful protest are punishable by arrest, but they are treating the first group of the protest unusually harshly to make an example of them and discourage the rest of us from doing what the constitution guarantees us the right to do.  No equal treatment before the law.  No freedom of assembly or free speech.  We knew arrest was possible, and we are not deterred.

But we feel it is a sad day in America when our rights are treated as if they are only available at the whim of the park police.