In more than 100 towns and cities across the nation on July 4th, protestors gathered not to celebrate America’s independence but instead to demand that freedom and liberty be returned to a nation where rights are under attack and disappearing.
“Restore the Fourth,” had a double meaning: Recognizing the nation’s founding and seeking restoration of the privacy rights that used to be protected by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
As we here at Capitol Hill Blue have reported over the years, rights and freedoms that Americans once took for granted are disappearing under rights-robbing laws like the USA Patriot Act and increasing government intervention into the lives of all citizens.
In New York City, Washington, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Philadelphia and other locations, those unhappy with White House and Congress-backed spying of Americans by the National Security Agency and other government agencies gathered to voice their anger over the loss of privacy and freedom in America.
Supporters reported good turnouts in places like Austin, Texas, where many unhappy with the Gestapo-like tactics of both the current administration of Barack Obama and the previous Presidency of George W. Bush marched and voiced their dismay over the dismantling of traditional American freedoms.
Posters to the web discussion site Reddit.Com, which spearheaded much of the effort, reported Denver police used pepper spray, clubbed some participants and ran over a young girl’s foot with a motorcycle.
Others reported police harassment in Chicago while marches went smoothly in New York City and other locations.
Most locations reported crowds that ran into the hundreds and supporters hope the demonstrations on the Fourth start a nationwide trend of widespread and growing protests against the spying.
Michael Reed, the director of communications for the Restore the Fourth Movement, says 19,000 subscribers joined the group that formed on Reddit.Com and the movement’s page drew more than half a million visitors in the first three days.
Rainey Reitman, activism director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the goal was to take the energy online to the streets on Independence Day.
The group got strong support from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who posted a video message on YouTube to support the rallies and promised to “lead the fight” against surveillance programs of the government.
“The Fourth Amendment ought to be defended,” Paul said in his video. “I think really the right to privacy is one of the new fights of the century.”
Amen Senator. Amen.