Thursday, February 20, 2003

New Yorkers right to march compromised
"The most the mayor would allow was a rally at the plaza in front of the UN for 10,000 participants. The overflow was herded into "pens" that the police constructed for miles down the center of First Avenue. Once a demonstrator entered his assigned pen, he wasn't allowed to fraternize with people in other pens. While others marched with dignity throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers were kept behind barricades.

"The Constitution is especially concerned with the threat of political suppression. During the 1960s, federal judges were tireless in striking down the countless pretexts used by Southern cities to suppress civil rights marches against segregation. But the federal courts failed to rise to the occasion this time around. When the march organizers went to court, federal judges rubber-stamped the pretexts advanced by the Bloomberg administration... events in New York should caution us about the frightening ease with which our most precious liberties can disappear."

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