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Press Conference 8/16/04
This is a summary of a Press Conference held on Monday Aug 16th on the steps of City Hall.
PRESS CONFERENCE HELD TO ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN FOR A PERMIT TO RALLY IN CENTRAL PARK IN NYC ON AUGUST 29TH, THE EVE OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION.
Not in Our Name, in conjunction with Refuse and Resist, American Muslim Voice, Blue Triangle Network, Justice for New Americans, and Riva Enteen of the National Lawyers Guild, held a press conference on the steps of City Hall in San Francisco on Monday, August 16th. Not in Our Name gave an overview of plans to put enormous pressure on the mayor’s office and to create nationwide awareness of the fight being waged in NYC for the right to rally on the Great Lawn in Central Park. Not in Our Name activist Marissa Quaranta stressed the fact that “This is not merely a New York issue, this is an issue which is national and international in scope. It has everything to do with our right to protest and dissent in this country. If we allow the city to set the terms of our resistance this time, we can expect nothing but greater repressive measures in the future.”
Statements were given by the following:
Joey Johnson, organizer with The Not in Our Name Project, and defendant in the 1989 Supreme Court Case Texas vs. Johnson
“The Mayor of New York City, Bloomberg, says he’s concerned about the crushing of blades of grass on the lawn in Central Park. As U.S. tanks and armored personnel carriers crush houses in Iraqi neighborhoods, Bloomberg says that we must protect the
lawn…That’s ridiculous and criminal. And as Not In Our Name says: ‘It’s not about the grass, it’s about the future.’ What Bloomberg is trying to do, along with those from whom he takes his orders, is political repression.”
Riva Enteen, member of the National Lawyers Guild
“As member of the NLG, who has been protecting rights to associate and protest since 1937, we know this isn’t a war on terrorism, this is a war on dissent, and this is the most recent example. This is clearly about silencing those who will
protest Bush and his policies. Central park is the heart of New York City and political speech is the heart of democracy. The legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights said one year ago; ‘it is our job to protect the constitution from its’ enemies, and today its’ enemies are the white house and the justice dept.’ We must protect our right to free speech and our right to association. We must demand that they grant our right to protest in Central Park.
Samina Faheem, Executive Director, American Muslim Voice
"18 years ago, I chose to make the USA my home. As a single mom, I wanted to live in a place I could make my voice heard, and where there were freedoms. When I came to the USA, I had a dream and today, that dream is shattered. If you look at Bush’s policies, there is no freedom. Where is my America? I’ll keep fighting until America becomes the place where dissent is welcomed and voices will not be silenced. Will anyone stand with me to fight for that place? Together we can find our America."
Ben Allen, Refuse and Resist, Blue Triangle Network
“The denial of a permit by Michael Bloomberg shows us how this so-called democracy really works. This denial by Bloomberg, the action of the New York authorities, acting on behalf of the Bush regime is nothing but a police state measure to stifle dissent and outlaw resistance. This is a war on dissent, a war on opposition, no matter what form it takes. They want us to lie down like puppies, but we need to roar like lions, and build a massive resistance movement. We will not let them set the terms for our struggle. A number has been set up by the NLG and Refuse and Resist for those harassed by the FBI. It is 212 679-5100. This is a historic struggle, we will not be denied. Refuse and Resist, the future is ours!"