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fight ON now against "free speech zones" at MLK grave

Police set up a zone for the protesters to keep them some 150 yards from where the president will stand at Dr. King's crypt. However, 300 to 400 protesters who arrived in advance of the president's visit refused to step back to the cordoned-off area and instead set up camp just about 50 yards from the crypt. Officers took one protester into custody and blocked the view of the others with buses.
Atlanta's indymedia site has background but does not yet have news of the protest:


AP has a story about the protest before Bush arrived:

Beating drums and chanting, "In 2004, Bush no more," about 300 people marched in circles near the tomb, saying the president's stop there was merely a "photo op." Some protesters held signs that displayed King's image and read, "War is not the answer."

The Atlanta Constitution has a good story about the protesters perspective:


About 3:45 p.m., the president will lay a wreath at the late civil rights leader's crypt at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. The president announced his visit on Friday.

But the MLK March Committee, a group of area civil rights activists who worked with King, say they have worked for months on a program to honor the civil rights leader at Ebenezer Baptist Church, across the street.

"They told us that the Secret Service wanted us out of there by 2 p.m.," said the Rev. James Orange. "We are not leaving the church." The Ebenezer program from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. focuses on human rights.

homepage: homepage: http://atlanta.indymedia.org/

update: cops fail to enforce free speech zone... 15.Jan.2004 13:56


update: cops fail to enforce free speech zone, resort to parking Buses between President and the people, Bush is still seen by 1,000 angry Americans and hears their boos.

Photo-Op spoiled.

2 arrested.


free speech zones at MLK's tomb 15.Jan.2004 14:01

a travesty

I wonder if people can hear or feel him turning in his grave.

No Fear! Learn from Atlanta! 15.Jan.2004 14:41

Lars the Infidel

Hundreds of people today pushed past the Secret Security barricades to protest Shrub's grotesque presence at MLK's gravesite. They were not intimidated by "Free Speech" zones. This is the kind of lesson we need to learn here. That is, they weren't afraid. They weren't going to be cowed by the cops.

Arrests be damned, people.

Get ready for the next protest here, and don't whine about being confined. Don't whine and bitch. Everyone now knows the stakes have been raised. So get ready to be arrested when the time comes.

And it's coming. Oh, it's coming.

Now is not the time to get discouraged. We must all get the courage up to get back in the streets, even in face of arrests, and show the city that all the people who poured into the boulevards of Portland in 2002 and 2003 are not cowed, are not going away.

Prepare for the next logical step in public protest here in Portland. And It's got to be the one-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion. That anniversary will fall on Saturday, March 20, 2004.


Let's Do It Again ! !

more organized 15.Jan.2004 15:39


1. They showed up early, and refused to move.
2. They had discussed and planned their response to free speech zones.
3. They had many more people (who trusted each other)
4. They didn't have to rely on one individual's spontaneous, revelatory call to action.
5. They clearly placed the police on the horns of a dilemma, a classic non-violent direct action goal.

Okay, Your Move 15.Jan.2004 16:58

Lars the Infidel


I've simply made the first call to action well ahead of time to start the planning for the March 20 anti-war rally. Sorry if that doesn't fit your idea of "organization." If we had to wait for reactionaries, pardon the pun, things might never get done.

So, yes, let's plan, let's discuss, let's get organized. There is time.

Just don't be a negative-nellie. Do something positive, like suggest a time and place to meet. Ya think?!

you forgot one, classic 15.Jan.2004 20:01


6. be predominantly black

From a Reuters article about the protests, `"Bush go home" and "peace not war" the predominantly black crowd of protesters shouted from behind a barrier of buses, as Bush paid tribute to King on the 75th anniversary of his birth.' Images of armor-clad gestapo pummeling throngs of black folks most definitely works *against* the myth that Bush is trying to foster with his visit to MLK's grave since it makes comfortable white people (who are his real audience in this charade) feel bad. Unfortunately, comfortable white people generally don't experience the same degree of inner distress when confronted with images of armor-clad gestapo pummeling throngs of "uppity" white folks.

Bush: "I have a schedule . . . er dream" 16.Jan.2004 11:02


Goatlove, your comment was exactly what was running through my mind as I read the article and prior comments. With no disrespect intended, I believe the police were less heavy-handed because the crowd was predominantly black and one of the unspoken reasons the pResident was there was to try and kiss up to black voters by making a gratuitous and meaningless gesture (at least from his point of view). If he hadn't wanted to justify taxpayer funding of his Atlanta fundraising jaunt, he might not have bothered to drop by.

Of course I don't believe he fooled the black community for one moment; they've seen far too many examples of being shorted and turned away.

I find it appalling that the Bushies apparently put their photo op agenda ahead of a gathering planned months in advance at an adjacent church, seeking to turf out the participants for the "safety" of the pResident.

How much better would it have been to actually try to involve these people in the wreath laying ceremony . . . to make it a part of the gathering? But then again, there were probably a lot of folks who would not have wanted Bush involved at all. The loud boos and signs made that pretty clear.