Cindy Sheehan, the mother who camped outside of George Bush's "Western White House" to demand he discuss her son's death while serving in the Iraq War, had been in town since Sunday, giving anti-war speeches to hundreds of people. But yesterday, her planned speech at Union Square was cut short by the NYPD who seized the audio equipment of event organizer Paul "Zool" Zulkowitz. The police say that Zulkowitz didn't have a permit to use a sound device and was given a summons. According to Indymedia reports, 60-70 people chased the police and chanted, "Police out of the park" and "Who's f-cking park? OUR f-cking park!" Sheehan was hustled out of the park quickly.
The NY Times talks to some people who felt this was another instance of the city shutting down their right to free speech and protest the war: Green Party co-chairman, Daniel Starling, said, "This is what's been happening for the last couple of years. Every time we try to hold a demonstration, they arrest us." It should be interesting to see what the NYCLU says about this, because Gothamist questions whether the city would willingly give a permit for audio equipment to be used in a smaller scale (Union Square Park is no Central Park) anti-war demonstration. The city will let a 35,000 popsicle melt in the Union Square, but not let a group of people meet.
Photograph from Indymedia