Wel, yesterday February 26th, marked my third Monday demonstrating outside the US Consulate protesting the Iraq war and its possible escaltion into an Iran war. The first Monday was a bit intimidating as, well, it was my first day. On that day the media, ZBM and VSB came by and I gave a brief interview. From that I learned the importance of having some coffee or tea before protesting (I work till midnight on Sundays, and don’t get home till about one am, wake up at 0630 to get to the Consul for 0745 – I’m still half awake at the demo). But it went well. My placard for that day was a two sided one with the slogan “Anything war can do…Peace can do better.” Last Monday (19/02/07) was President’s Day in the US, so I chose the slogan ‘Bush bin Lying’ in honour of the US President, the lies he told to get the US and allies into Iraq, and how the current mess is the son of those lies. It was also to highlight the connection between State Terrorism and Islamic Terrorism. That was a bitterly cold, raining and gusty day, and the Consulate was closed for the US holiday. By 0900hrs my placard was soggy and dying, my hand was frozen stiff and bleeding from wind burn, so I packed it in.
Yesterday, the 26th was interesting. I had the slogan ‘Iraq, whats it oil about’ of which I will write a post about shortly, detailing the connection between US geopolitical strategies for acheiving control of the regions energy resources, while similteonously developing alternative energy use in the US itself – allowing the US to be free from oil consumption, but controlling access to such oil to ’emerging threats’ such as the PRC or India that do not have the technological access or capital to transcend fossil fuels like the US does. Well, on my first day of protest the rent-a-cop (they get double time for US Consul duty I hear), ushered me off the sidewalk and said I needed a permit to protest. I corrected him that only more than three people under our laws need a permit, which he confirmed over the radio with Prospect. I did not know the law about protesting and sidewalks however, so I obliged him there. Over the next week I researched and found absolutely no law saying I can’t protest on the sidewalk, only laws saying I can’t block access (i.e. for cars, etc.). So yesterday, I chose to stand on the sidewalk and demonstrate. The US Consul himself, Mr. Slayton comes out to me, introduces himself and says that ‘Freedom of Speech is a wonderful thing” and then goes into his compound. Less than a minute later out coems what I reckon is his Chief of Staff type guy, who tells me I can’t stand on the sidewalk, the sidewalk is private US territory, and would I kindly move over onto the road or the sidewalk next to the bustop. So, I say to him, that the US Consul himself had no problem with me protesting, to which he responds that the US Consul had just asked him to move me! Bit hypocritical and cowardly of Mr. Slayton I think! Now, there are no signs there indicating that the sidewalk is US property, no signs saying no protesting, or even no loitering (which I wasn’t anyway), so I politely refuse to move, pointing out the above. Now, I’ll check the laws again, but if there are any lawyers reading this, can they offer any advice?