MAY 24, 2004
CONTACT: The National Lawyers Guild
Michael Avery, 617-573-8551
Heidi Boghosian, 212-679-5100, ext. 11
The National Lawyers Guild Condemns Georgia's Declaration of State of Emergency for G-8 Summit Meeting
WASHINGTON - May 24 - The National Lawyers Guild condemned the recent announcement by the Governor of Georgia declaring a state of emergency merely because protests are expected in connection with the Group of Eight (G-8) summit meeting on Sea Island in June, and also condemned recently announced security plans by Massachusetts authorities for the Democratic National Convention in Boston in July. Massachusetts authorities announced Friday that over 40 miles of roadway will be closed for much of the Convention, as well as the North Station subway and train depot. The Guild labeled the actions in both states as gross overreactions to vastly inflated security concerns.
Michael Avery, President of the Lawyers Guild, stated, "The Government is using an exaggerated threat of disruption in order to demonize and discourage legitimate political protest. If the declaration of emergency by Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia were justified, it would have made sense to put the entire South under a state of emergency for the entire period of the civil rights movement. Obviously such draconian security measures have no place in a constitutional democracy. It is precisely when conditions are tense and difficult that we need the protection of the Constitution for the right to protest and dissent the most."
The National Lawyers Guild has been working to defend the rights of protestors at mass demonstrations. It provided legal teams to assist demonstrators during the FTAA protests in Miami last year and has been actively involved in legal defense in Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington and Philadelphia, as well as other cities. The Guild is training legal observers to monitor demonstrations and will be providing lawyers to defend protestors during both the Democratic National Convention in Boston and the Republican National Convention in New York this summer.
The National Lawyers Guild, founded in 1937, comprises over 6,000 members and activists in the service of the people. Its national office is headquartered in New York and it has chapters in nearly every state, as well as over 100 law school chapters. Guild members provide legal support to progressive demonstrations throughout the country, and well understand the nationwide trend toward increasingly repressive measures deployed against political protesters.