Debates over the location of a anti-Bush, anti-War rally in New York City this Sunday, and over what response demonstrators ought to have—passive and acquiescent or militant and assertive—should not overshadow the crucial point: there is going to be a massive demonstration on Aug. 29, and everyone who possibly can should plan on being there!
That’s the word from United for Peace and Justice, the umbrella organization that is organizing the demonstration scheduled for the day before the start of the Republican National Convention/
UFPJ accuses New York’s Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has steadfastly refused to negotiate with them over access to the main open space in the city, Central Park’s Great Lawn, of deliberately trying to either incite chaos and unrest, which Bush Campaign officials have already said they would plan to capitalize on by blaming the Democrats, or to sow enough confusion that many potential demonstrators won’t show up.
Bloomberg has claimed, improbably, that he just wants to protect the grass on the park site, though it has in the past been used for such commercial gatherings as the Paul Simon/Art Garfunkle reunion concert, which drew 750,000 people, far more than are expected even by the most optimistic demonstration organizers.
In another wrinkle,which could force Bloomberg’s hand, the city’s police have threatened to go on strike on the day of the rally, because of Bloomberg’s hardline stand on their contract negotiation. If that contract isn’t settled by August 29, Bloomberg would either have to surrender the park or ask the governor to call up the National Guard.
UPFJ says that in the event that the state’s high court rejects the organization’s appeal of the city’s denial of a park permit, the march, which has a permit, will still be on.
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