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Police State & Critical Mass in New York 2/3

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Published on Aug 1, 2007

WeAreChange.org attends a Critical Mass gathering in New York City during the summer. Critical Mass started in 1992 in San Francisco as an ... all » organized event to promote bicycle transportation but has evolved over the years as a loose gathering of people who enjoy biking, roller blading and other means of alternative transportation. Throughout the years a central location and time have been established in cities around the world and therefore there is no need for an organizer. Since 2006 the mainstream press has attempted to define Critical Mass as a "demonstration". They also call it "monthly political-protest rides" despite the absence of signs or speeches.

Police have been frustrated by the fact that there is no organization to force permits and fees upon. To combat this the city has passed laws requiring a Parade Permit for over 50 riders. They then just start pulling people over and if they can't get them on bike laws, such as required lights and helmets, they move on to intimidating them. The weakest tend to get fined or arrested and the ones that stand up for their rights tend to walk.

In this video you will see several travesties of justice. A gentleman appears dressed as a preacher and brings a cheerleader megaphone to remind the police of the constitution. He is arrested, even though he breaks no law including the new sound amplification laws that require a permit for bullhorns. Pedestrians are allowed to walk freely around the area and on sidewalks however people with cameras are not.

Police refuse to give badge numbers. Police move camera people away from areas where arrests are being performed. Police state that simply standing on the sidewalk filming is "dangerous" as a reason to get them to leave. Police video anyone filming events as a means of intimidation. Police state that lining up police vans and scooter patrols as well as bringing captains and other suits to the scene ahead of time is not meant to intimidate people. Incidentally, we saw no gatherings of over 50 at any time in one place on the streets.

Perhaps there should be a law that requires the police to obtain permission for 50 or more of them to assemble without a reason!

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