Last week the antiwar coalition United for Peace and Justice's application for a permit to rally on the Great Lawn in Central Park in Manhattan on August 29th was denied. The rally is planned to be a key part of what organizers (and police) expect to be a massive demonstration on the day before the 2004 Republican National Convention begins. UFPJ's attorneys appealed that denial. Earlier this week the appeal was also denied.
Far from a radical cause, the city's refusal to grant the permit has sparked editorial condemnation from three of New York's daily newspapers as well as criticism from municipal labor unions and numerous members of New York's City Council, including Council president Gifford Miller, all of whom are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse the decision and allow the march to lawfully proceed.
As Rupert Murdoch's strongly pro-war New York Post put it: "A gaggle of lefty agitators wants to convene in Central Park this summer to give President Bush a little grief. But the Parks Department says no, because they might bend the grass. Well, too bad. 'Keep Off The Grass' appears nowhere in the First Amendment."
UFPJ is asking people to call Bloomberg to politely protest the city's denial of our right to rally in Central Park on August 29. You can email the Mayor by clicking here or call his office at 212-788-3000. It's also useful to let the Parks Commissioner, Adrian Benepe, know how you feel. Her office can be reached at 212-360-1305.
And, be sure to check out the UFPJ website for updates on this struggle to secure the right to protest, as well as information about the full range of planned protest, cultural and educational activities while the Republican Party meets in New York City.