Third Party & Independents Archives

The battle in Miami

The violence at the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas conference in Miami, Florida was greater than at any globalization protest since the Battle in Seattle. However, the violence was restricted completely to one side. The appaling tactics of the police in beating and gassing of peaceful protestors caused sharp criticism even from conservative politicians in Florida. The FTAA organizers conceded that the demonstrators were peaceful and that there were indeed far fewer than they had expected. In light of this, what is the reason for the unprecedented brutality of the police? Is this the next step in the creation of a police state in the United States? Are any public demonstrations that are critical of the actions of the government going to met with such thuggish disregard for our Constitutional rights?

The Miami police had consulted the Seattle police extensively on how to prepare, in spite of the fact that an independent commission rebuked the Seattle police for their excessive violence and innumberable violations of the state constitution. Seattle has paid tens of millions of dollars to settle thousands of claims against the police as a result.

As has become common practice during globalization events and high profile political events, ordinances were rushed into place to restrict the right to assemble peacably. Police confiscated pamphlets and political literature (a violation of the First Amendment), protesters were assaulted with pepper spray and rubber bullets at close range, they were jailed and held until after the FTAA conference was over and no charges were ever filed. Reporters and photographers with valid press credentials were arrested and removed from the scene to prevent them from doing their job.

These actions fundamentally violate both the words and the intent of the Constitution of the United States of America. This is become not a land of freedom but a land of repression. A land where you are only allowed to speak your mind if you agree with those in power. I have been hearing a lot of people on the right who are thrilled with this turn of events, and I ask them: How happy will you be about the end of free speech and freedom of the press and freedom of association if liberals win the next election? How thrilled will you be that "those commies" who "don't deserve to have rights anyway" are suddenly controlling the power structure and can prevent you from having your say?

Posted by rev_matt_y at December 17, 2003 10:47 AM