Protesters Have the Right to Protest … and to Resist Unlawful Arrest
November 13, 2011
Top Military Commander and Courts Support Right to Protest
In response to comments from those supporting the police crackdowns on peaceful protesters exercising their constitutional rights but violating local ordinances (see comments here), reader Purplemuse writes:
The Constitution supersedes local ordinances that are being used to OBSTRUCT 1st Amendment Rights. The camping ITSELF is in order to MAKE A STATEMENT – a First Amendment Right. Protesters are not camping because it is fun to expose yourself to the elements and hardship and you want to roast wienies and marshmallows and drink beer while swapping ghost stories.
Would you listen to Colin Powell, retired four-star general in the United States Army, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989), as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993) when he says, “It isn’t enough just to scream at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back into, ‘How do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again?’” He also states that the Occupy Wall Street Protests are “As American as Apple Pie.”
Does he go on to qualify his statement by saying, “as long as they obey local (misdemeanor) ordinances. No, he does not. He actually goes on to say that he “gets” it.
If a man, well above your rank, that you’d likely drop everything to stand up in a room to honor, “gets” that peaceful protests, by design (that’s why they are referred to as ‘civil disobedience’) infringe on ordinances and make the public uncomfortable in order to be heard, are as American as Apple Pie; do you think you could set your fear of disobedience aside long enough to defend those protesters against physical harm for exercising those American as Apple Pie Rights? If you can’t than I think you need to join the ranks of officers who simply “do as they are told” and jab petite women in the spleen with billy clubs (as in Berkeley) in order to incite a riot. (BTW: They did not succeed, Berkeley stood firm in determined peace).
(Watch Powell’s statement here).