(New York-WABC, July 19, 2004) — The NYPD is being forced to ease restrictions on demonstrators at the Republican Convention. That means no handbag searches, unless officers can show a specific threat to public safety.
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After a protest that became known for its violence on February 15 of 2003, protesters sued police for over-policing, accusing them of denying the public proper access on that day. And they sued over the use of metal pens, or barricades. And they accused the police of over-zealous searches of handbags and backpacks.
On most points in the case the protesters won. They include Annie Stauber, wheel-chair bound, who could not get out of a police pen on that day.
Annie Stauber, Peace Activist: "I'm thrilled. It makes it a lot safer to do further demonstrations, to do the Republican Convention demonstrations. I'm very happy not to be shut in anywhere."
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Sorry, Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Bush, this is still NYC, the most diverse city in the world. We also don't put up with police state bullshit. You had to have your convention here? Well then, you'll have to put up with us. New Yorkers don't roll over because some village idiot from Texas tells us to.
I'm off to the mines. Later.