|YES! I want to SIGN the petition to the mayors of Cleveland and Philadelphia, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the RNC AND DNC, President Obama, Homeland Security and the Secret Service to defend the peoples' right to protest at the RNC and DNC (text appears beneath the form below)
Text of petition:
TO: Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson
Republican National Convention
Democratic National Convention
President Barack Obama
Department of Homeland Security
GUARANTEE THE PEOPES’ RIGHT TO DEMONSTRATE, MARCH AND BE HEARD AT THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTIONS IN CLEVELAND AND PHILADELPHIA!
The 2016 election features the most unpopular candidates in recent history. Donald Trump’s candidacy represents an attack on immigrants, Muslims, people of color, women, LGBTQ people and the entire working class. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s pro-Wall St, pro-war candidacy offers nothing to working class and oppressed people, just pandering and a “lesser evil.”
The people of the US and the world deserve a space to express their outrage against the two parties of racism, capitalism, and war. Organizers of the Shut Down Trump & the RNC action on July 17 as well as the Shut Down the DNC action on July 26, along with dozens of other organizations, are planning major demonstrations in Cleveland and Philadelphia. We are outraged by the attack on our rights to organize. Cleveland and Philadelphia, with the support of Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Secret Service, have made it clear that they do not plan to allow the people to express their outrage during the most unpopular election in recent history.
While the right-wing racists who defend Donald Trump have the right to carry firearms in Cleveland, working class and oppressed people have not been afforded the right to voice their concerns. With the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the escalating war against Black people and Black Lives Matter, the
Peoples’ right to protest, resist and fight back has never been more important.
Stop Repression of Activists! At least a dozen Cleveland activists report that they or their families got a knock on the door by the FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Service and Cleveland cops. When the RNC was in Philadelphia in 2000, the major organizing hub was raided by police just days before the convention. Other times key activists have been detained days before major demonstrations. Government repression of activists, whether through spying, raiding, or intimidation, must end immediately. No to excessive fines against people engaged in protests that are protected under the First Amendment.
Money for Communities, not Repression! Millions are being spent for state repression against protests, which will be part of city and state arsenals far into the future. We are worried about the long term effects of an increasingly militarized, anti-Free Speech police force which is empowered by these laws. Meanwhile Labor, LGBTQ, impoverished, immigrant and Black and Brown communities – those who have the most reasons to protest in the streets – will be denied their rights long after the RNC and DNC leaves town.
Stop Militarizing the Police! Through a $50 million Homeland Security grant, Cleveland police have acquired riot gear, retractable steel batons, fencing to pen in protestors, plastic cuffs and Long Range Acoustic Devices, which disperse crowds by emitting loud, painful noise. The city also purchased state-of-the-art surveillance tools including cameras, laptops, Pointer Illuminating Aiming Lasers and Stingray cell phone tracking devices. After the RNC the African-American community will have even more reason to fear the cops, who get to keep their new instruments of terror. Philadelphia has received a similar grant.
In Cleveland and Philadelphia, protesters are denied the right to march within sight and sound of the Convention sites. Both cities have placed heavy restrictions in the time and place of demonstrations, while planning extra space in local prisons to detain demonstrators. Mass arrests are common during the RNC and DNC, such as in 2004 and 2008 when thousands of protesters were rounded up by police, only later to win major lawsuits based on the denial of protected First Amendment activity. The agreement between the city of Cleveland and the ACLU still contains far too many restrictions on the right to protest.
- Guarantee Our Right to March!