Historic Protest Settlement from 2004 RNC: WRL Speaks

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Ruth Benn of the WRL NYC – Local at the settlement press conference January, 15th, 2014. Photo by New York Civil Liberties Union.

Yesterday’s historic settlement awarded to protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City was the largest in U.S. history – and many a WRL’er was in the mix! At the press conference, Ed Hedemann of the WRL – NYC local said: “The government can place FBI agents behind every mailbox and cops behind every potted plant but we will not be intimidated by their efforts to crush dissent and muzzle opposition to its policies.” The New York Civil Liberties Union and National Lawyers Guild – NYC had doggedly pursued this case, representing more than 1,600 individuals.

Another arrestee – among hundreds and hundreds detained by the NYPD that day – was Francesca Fiorentini, who was documenting the WRL contingent. Her reaction to the settlement? “It’s a victory but it came far too late. The damage to the rights of free speech and assembly are done, and the city has not admitted any legal wrongdoing. The settlement money shouldn’t come from the city, it should come from Bloomberg and police commissioner Ray Kelly’s personal wealth. As activists we have to make sure that these critical first amendment rights are never again taken away.” Well said!

One response to “Historic Protest Settlement from 2004 RNC: WRL Speaks

  1. I was one of the protesters arrested at the beginning of the march, a block and a half away from ground zero, along side the cemetery by the church. What a fiasco! We received a small taste of fascism at “Guantanamo on the Hudson” on the pier and then locked in the Tombs for three days. I felt compelled to settle out my case several years ago, but we all shared the hassle and slight horror of the police state as the war came home that week. Bravo to all brave souls who protested and paid the price. We were treated with more respect by the police when we were protesting in Mubarak’s Egypt several years later. Power to the Peaceful!!!

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