Silenced by City Hall
City Hall shut her up
An Antiwar Speech in Union Square Is Stopped by Police Citing Paperwork Rules
BY SHADI RAHIMI
Published: September 20, 2005
An antiwar speech by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq, was cut short yesterday after the organizer of the event was arrested and police officers confiscated his audio equipment.
The claps and cheers that had greeted Ms. Sheehan's arrival at the rally in Union Square quickly turned to furious chants of "Let her speak!" as officers ushered away the organizer, Paul Zulkowitz, who the police said lacked audio permits for the event.
Cindy Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq, was guided away from Union Square after a rally was cut short.
Angry activists followed officers as they led Mr. Zulkowitz away, waving their fists and shouting, "Shame, shame, shame." Ms. Sheehan, who was visiting New York on the last leg of a bus tour across the country, was nearing the end of her speech when the police officers arrested Mr. Zulkowitz. She was whisked to a car by two supporters just before the police officers seized the microphone. Mr. Zulkowitz was arrested because he did not have a permit, said the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Inspector Michael J. McEnroy.
Detective Kevin Czartoryski said Mr. Zulkowitz was charged with unauthorized use of a sound device and disorderly conduct, and was released after being given a court summons.
Detective Czartoryski said the police had taken the "appropriate action" in response to a lawbreaker.
But many people attending the event, dozens of whom yelled accusations into the faces of the more than 20 police officers who blocked them from following Mr. Zulkowitz, interpreted the arrest as a demonstration of citywide disdain for free speech, referring to last year's arrests of protesters at the Republican National Convention.
"This is what's been happening for the last couple of years," said Daniel Starling, the co-chairman of the Green Party chapter in Manhattan, who attended the event yesterday. "Every time we try to hold a demonstration, they arrest us."
The crowd of New Yorkers had waited more than an hour to catch a glimpse of Ms. Sheehan, who was thrust into the national spotlight in August when she sought a meeting with President Bush by camping out for days near his ranch in Crawford, Tex. Though soft-spoken, Ms. Sheehan has not shied away from controversy, opening her New York visit on Sunday night in Brooklyn by accusing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of failing to challenge the Bush administration's policies in Iraq.
Laurie Arbeiter, 46, of Brooklyn, said she flew to Crawford in August and spent two weeks camped out with Ms. Sheehan and others.
Ms. Arbeiter said that the arrest of the event organizer, Mr. Zulkowitz, was another example of the "country's suppression of dissent."
"We are being railroaded toward a state in which we can't speak up," she said.
OK liberals, this is in the New York Times.
This was cleared with City Hall, because no cop is politically ignorant enough to do this on his own. You think Ray Kelly was surprised by this? You think this was done behind Bloomberg's back?
Hell no. They have been harassing Critical Mass for two years. They have tried to black protests and shunt them to Randalls Island or the West Side Highway since 2002.
Do you want four more years of this?
Cindy Sheehan was protected by the Crawford sheriff. She was silenced by the NYPD.
That's pretty fucking shameful.
Bloomberg acts like a Democrat when it comes time to placate people. But he's a control freak Republican when it comes to Bush and national policy.
Remember, protecting the grass of the Great Lawn is more important than free speech, unless Disney wants to rent it.
So tell me again how Freddie Ferrer is a party hack. Because I think it is highly unlikely these policies would continue. Bloomberg has fought every protest which would make the GOP look bad.
I guess he wants to protect his $7m investment. The question is do you?
posted by Steve @ 10:14:00 AM