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Anaheim police lose battle to squash free speech

by Duane J. Roberts Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2003 at 12:49 AM
duaneroberts92804@yahoo.com

Civil liberties are won only when masses of people organize with one another to vigorously assert and defend their rights.

Monday, January 27, 2003

ANAHEIM POLICE LOSE BATTLE TO SQUASH FREE SPEECH

People defend their rights while under seige by a

platoon of police

By Duane J. Roberts

ANAHEIM, CA -- Last Saturday night, the streets and

alleyways surrounding the venerable Unitarian Church

of Orange County suddenly came alive with huge armada

of Anaheim police cars and motorcycles passing by.

What happened a neighbor might ask?

Did an armed robbery occur? Was someone brutally

raped? Had a mass murder taken place?

No.

The Anaheim Police Department was waging a fierce

battle to shutdown a small event being held on church

grounds that was organized by the Los Angeles

Anarchist Black Cross Federation, a political prisoner

support group.

In a scene reminiscent of the kind of intense

repression that routinely occurs in "third world

countries", a platoon of Anaheim police officers spent

several hours spying and harrassing the crowd that

peaceably assembled.

The war against civil liberties began early Friday

afternoon when Anaheim Police and City Code

Enforcement left a flurry of frantic messages on the

Unitarian church's answering machine inquiring about

the event.

Several church members met later that night with a

very hostile Anaheim police sergeant who bullied

and intimidated them into pressuring organizers to

cancel the whole affair.

But this decision was reversed the next day as

everyone concluded that under no circumstances

should the church capitulate to unreasonable demands

by Anaheim Police to curb free speech.

It was a veritable war zone Saturday evening as

untold numbers of Anaheim police cars and motorcycles

circled around the church much like hungry sharks

looking for an easy kill.

About a dozen police officers quickly seized control

of a nearby elementary school parking lot, bringing

along a K-9 unit whose German Shepherds could be heard

barking and yelping in the background.

As people arrived, six church members stood their

ground as the same police sergeant mentioned earlier

came over and tried to bully and intimidate

them into submission.

But this time the sergeant's tactics backfired and he

was forced to back off a bit as one church member

whipped out his cellphone and contacted an Anaheim

police captain he knew.

Despite the intense police harrassment, the event

proceeded without incident until a City Code

Enforcement officer arrived and ordered that all

amplified sound be shut off under threat of citation.

The crowd of mostly young people remained peaceful

even when the police sergeant called up about a dozen

of his men and lined them up along an alleyway in a

brazen show of force.

But instead of getting angry, all seventy of them

proceeded to walk across the street to Anaheim Police

headquarters to get what forms they needed to file a

complaint.

Upon arriving at the front entrance, they soon

discovered that Anaheim Police had locked all the

doors with handcuffs to prevent any of them from going

into the lobby.

After several minutes of negotiations, three police

officers opened the doors and handed out forms to

everybody who requested them, and they promptly

returned to the Unitarian Church to fill them out.

It was then that Anaheim Police realized they had

lost this battle, and they gradually withdrew all

their forces and faded away into the darkness of the

night.

The battle that occurred last Saturday showed that

civil liberties are won only when masses of people

organize with one another to vigorously assert and

defend their rights.

At grave personal risk to themselves, seventy people

openly defied efforts by a small platoon of police

officers to deny them of their rights to free speech

and assembly.

The massive amount of resistance Anaheim Police

encountered that night no doubt will make them think

twice about trampling over anybody else's civil

liberties anytime soon.

Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
POWER TO THE PEOPLE, RIGHT ON!!! Charles U. Farley Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2003 at 8:15 AM
and take notes Marc Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2003 at 5:14 PM
Exercise our Civil Rights Pamela smith Friday, Jan. 02, 2004 at 5:36 PM

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