Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Court Documents Show NYC Mayor Planned To Ban Rallies During RNC

Internal Memos Reveal The Truth About 'Free Speech' In NYC....

Documents released July 31st by the Partnership for Civil Justice, & reported by the New York Times, revealed that the Mayor of New York, the Commissioner of the Parks Department & other city officials were intentionally depriving civil rights & anti-war assemblies from taking place during the Republican National Convention in 2004. They also reveal that they gave other reasons & rationales to the press, as well as to the public & the courts, for their decision.

In one of the internal e-mails, the Parks Department wrote, " It is very important that we do not permit any big or political events for the period between August 23rd and September 6th,2004. It's really important for us to keep track of any large events (over 1,000 people), and any rallies or events that seem sensitive or political in nature."

The Partnership for Civil Justice (PCJ) brought the first constitutional rights litigation in 2004 against New York City for it's efforts to ban political assembly on the Great Lawn. PCJ has continued to fight the court battle to end New York City's unconstitutional permitting practices, as well as it's illegal use of political discretion to ban free speech events & activities.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) & the ANSWER Coalition. This was in response to the city denying their permit application to hold an anti-war & civil rights rally on the Great Lawn in New York's Central Park, August 29th, 2004. The litigation shows that the reasons given for the permit denials were false.

Carl Messineo, co-founder of the Partnership for Civil Justice & the attorney for the plaintiffs said, " Mayor Michael Bloomberg did everything to convince the RNC committee to hold it's election year convention in NYC. These newly released documents now reveal what so many suspected, that the Mayor also was directly involved in the decisions to ban large-scale mass assembly rallies in the Great Lawn of Central Park, the only venue available in Manhattan for such protest, as part of a highly politicized decision-making process."

Help stop the attempt to privatize our public parks & lands & remove them from being a traditional public forum---historically owned & available to the people for free speech use, assembly & protest!!

The right to free speech & assembly is being bought from underneath our very feet!

Visit Justice Online for more info, the actual documents & internal memos, & a chance to donate to defend the 1st Amendment!!