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Police Bill Protesters for "Protection"

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo [Anarchists have often compared government police to a protection racket, but this
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2004
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      [Anarchists have often compared government police to a
      protection racket, but this puts a new twist on things--now
      they're literally trying to charge people to "protect" them
      from themselves.--DC]

      Police bill protesters for protection
      The Associated Press
      March 01, 2004

      The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding that a
      central Pennsylvania police department rescind a bill for
      $3,047 that it sent to an activist who organized a small
      protest against U.S. immigration policy.

      Springettsbury Township has demanded that march organizer
      Keith Dobson reimburse the police department for the cost of
      providing police protection to the group of around 25
      protesters who gathered near the York County Prison in January.

      More than 100 police officers in riot gear trailed the
      demonstrators during the protest as they marched from a
      park, to the prison, and then to a tractor plant.

      The ACLU said it is unconstitutional for a police department
      to charge citizens thousands of dollars to exercise their
      right to free speech.

      "We've asked them to rescind that bill by Friday, and if
      they don't, we're going to court," said Paula Knudsen, an
      attorney with the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

      "The last time I checked, free speech included the word
      free," she said. "It's not $3,047 speech."

      The group staged its demonstration at the prison to protest
      the detainment of immigrants after the Sept. 11 attacks.
      York County rents space in the prison to U.S. immigration
      agencies. It also picketed a Caterpiller plant near York
      because it believed the company sold bulldozers to Israel
      that had been used to demolish Palestinian homes.

      Township officials said a heavy police presence was needed
      during the demonstration because some of the protesters were
      anarchists. Springettsbury Township Manager John Holman said
      the officers also helped protesters cross streets safely.
      The bill, he said, would cover the cost of police overtime
      pay. Officials told Dobson he would be billed for police
      services before he had the march.

      The township is about 20 miles south of Harrisburg, near the
      city of York.


      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord We├┐rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      "It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
      *anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
      -- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
      _Detective Comics_ #608
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