Little ‘Gitmo’: Activists Held in Captivity during the Republican National Convention

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Media Center were arrested in a mass round-up of peaceful demonstrators just one block
from the site of the former World Trade Center in New York City. The arrest led to a two
and a half day ordeal for the demonstrators and their loved ones as the New York Police
Department and the Department of Corrections attempted to clear the streets of demonstrators
during the Republican National Convention (RNC).
The march, organized by the War Resisters League and the School of the America’s
Watch, had assembled at the World Trade Center to march to Madison Square Garden in an
effort to bring the sober legacy of September 11 home to the RNC, which was widely reviled
in New York City for capitalizing on the attacks for political gain. An estimated 400 people
were arrested shortly after police had announced that the march, which did not have a permit
to close the street, must remain on the sidewalk and obey New York State traffic laws. The
demonstrators were moving along the sidewalk, leaving about 2 1/2 feet of space for other
pedestrian traffic and attempting to organize themselves to walk two abreast, when the police
suddenly blew a whistle and announced that everyone was under arrest. The police gave no
order to disperse prior to surrounding the march with net and beginning the process of handcuffing
everyone on the block, including a German tourist, a New Yorker who wanted to
watch the demonstration, and a 17 year old woman from Delaware visiting New York for the
first time.
These are the first-hand accounts of our UC-IMC members who were held in detention
during the RNC protests in New York City.

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