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In the summer of 2010, national media attention turned to a plan to build a Muslim community center, to be called “Park51,” a few blocks away from ground zero. Although the plan was first reported in late 2009, with a quote from the project’s religious leader at the time stating that its goal was to “push back against the extremists,” the proposal did not receive much media attention until May 2010.
New Yorkers have the right to engage in peaceful, protest activity on public sidewalks, in public parks and on public streets in New York City. This includes the right to distribute handbills or leaflets; the right to hold press conferences, demonstrations and rallies; and the right to march on public sidewalks and in public streets. The city can and does impose certain restrictions on these activities, and in some instances one must obtain a permit before engaging in certain activity. This brochure is intended to inform New Yorkers of the basic rules governing demonstration activity.
As George W. Bush flew out of New York City just before midnight on Thursday September 2, 2004 and the final demonstration drew to a close, the focus shifted from the politics inside and the protests outside Madison Square Garden to assessing the actions of law enforcement agencies, particularly the New York Police Department (NYPD). Because the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) represented the organizers of virtually every major Convention demonstration, the NYCLU was deeply involved in permit negotiations.
In this report the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented the coalition that organized the New York City anti-war rally on February 15, 2003, provides a recounting of events leading up to the rally, a chronological overview of the actions of the NYPD on February 15, witness accounts, and an examination of protest activity.
Who's Watching? Video Camera Surveillance in New York City and the Need for Public Oversight documents the impact of the proliferation of unregulated surveillance on the rights of privacy, speech and association.
The report concludes with recommendations that will assist policy makers in protecting the public against the harms and abuses that will surely occur absent legislative action.