NYPD Unplugs Cindy Sheehan, But Not the Antiwar Movement

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They
can't stop the antiwar movement, but that doesn't mean they aren't
trying. On Monday, September 19 Cindy Sheehan spoke in New York
City's Union Square to a group of supporters and onlookers when
police rushed in to break up her speech as it was winding down.

“I
was speaking and someone grabbed my backpack and pulled me back
pretty roughly,” Sheehan told the Associated Press. “I was shoved
around.”

Police
arrested organizer Paul Zulkowitz, who was charged with disorderly
conduct as well as for using an unauthorized sound device. For anybody
that has been through Union Square in the past few weeks, you've
probably seen Zulkowitz (aka Zool) who heads up "Camp Casey
NYC," a small group of local activists who set up an encampment
over a month ago to show their solidarity for Sheehan's quest to
end the Iraq war. Zool's arrest was most likely a coordinated effort
meant to disrupt the ongoing antiwar vigil.

“Since
when can’t you talk out here in Union Square?” an Upper West Side
social worker told the Village Voice following the incident. “I’ve
seen everyone and their mother come out and speak nonsense out here
in this park, and for them to shut down Cindy Sheehan is just not
right.”

There
is no question that the New York Police Department overreacted.
I can't tell you how many times I've personally shuffled through
Union Square where musicians and others were plugged into (unauthorized,
I am sure) amplifiers – singing their tunes or spewing their political
propaganda. And never once I have I seen a police officer run in
and pull the Bob Dylan or Abbie Hoffman wannabe from his microphone.
No, there's a reason why they targeted Cindy Sheehan and not these
fellows.

Quashing
Cindy is a different issue altogether, and it carries a lot more
weight. For starters Sheehan is actually being heard and getting
her fair share of media coverage. She is proof that the antiwar
movement is gaining speed. And that's a dangerous predicament for
those that support Bush's dubious war, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg
who is clearly plotting his own trajectory within the Republican
establishment. Unplugging Sheehan undoubtedly scored Bloomberg a
few brownie points with the Bush cartel – as if jailing 1,8000 protestors
during the Republican National Convention wasn't enough.

Silencing
Cindy Sheehan in Union Square should show us all what we are really
up against. Over 1,900 US troops have died thus far in Iraq, not
to mention countless civilians. And for what? The NYPD and government
officials don't want us to ask that important question, which means
we have to be even more vigilant in our efforts to expose Bush's
war for the fraud that it is.

September
21, 2005

Joshua
Frank [send him mail]
is the author of Left
Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush
, just published
by Common Courage Press. To learn more, or to contact Frank, visit
www.BrickBurner.org.

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