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Should local Israel boycott arrestees face wrongful charges alone, without your support or media scrutiny?

COLORADO SPRINGS- There’s a plan tomorrow, Thursday Jan 6 at 1:30, for the first court appearance of BDS activists Cyndy Kulp and Ted Nace, arrested in November at a local shopping center, and charged with trespass to curtail their free speech. THE PLAN is for the two Middle East Peace Project activists to follow legal procedures unobtrusively, no press, no statements, no calling attention to the Israeli war crime they were protesting, or now the patently unconstitutional abridgment of their civil liberties. Self-censorship does seem odd when the original goal was to raise public outcry about injustice in Palestine. Isn’t media scrutiny otherwise the only opportunity which knocks when you’re gagged by wrongful arrest? Not much of a plan. Are veteran BDS campaigners Coloradans For Peace going to disrupt tomorrow’s agenda to sweep BDS/Free-Speech under the rug? HELL YES.

A strategy of keeping your head low, of tempering your message to avoid offense, of your sponsors and allies disassociating themselves from you, is a plan for mice not men.

While it might feel unseemly to call attention to yourself, even as a victim of injustice, that’s the same inhibition that keeps so-called advocates for social reform from protesting in public in the first place. Standing on the sidewalk, holding a sign is about trying to draw attention.

Long time peace activists Kulp and Nace need not check their outspoken humanitarian compulsions at the door tomorrow. Please turn up at 1PM tomorrow outside the Municipal Courthouse to show your support and help the two raise their voices to further the message about which they feel so passionately.

COLORADANS FOR PEACE is scheduling a press conference tomorrow at 1PM to object to the city’s recently unveiled policy of enforcing severe limitations on rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. In the past this harassment has been aimed at antiwar protest, now it is being used to silence critics of Israeli Apartheid and the illegal subjugation of the Palestinian people. If either of these issues is important to you, please come lend your voice.

Below is the policy which the City of Colorado Springs is seeking to enforce:

COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT BULLETIN

ORIGINATED BY: COMMANDER BRIAN GRADY
APPROVED BY: DC PETER CAREY
DATE ISSUED: 05-17-10
GENERAL TOPIC: FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS
SERIAL NO: 013-10(P)

The legal counsel for some large business owners has contacted the City Attorney’s Office to request that the Police Department enforce trespassing laws against individuals circulating petitions or otherwise expressing free speech views on their private property. Senior Attorney Will Bain has communicated with the attorneys and has done legal research to determine the current law regarding free speech on private property. Senior Attorney Bain advised that the private rights of the business owner outweigh the free speech rights of the individual.

Additionally, the research by the City Attorney’s Office indicates that at this time the Citadel Mall, Chapel Hills Mall, the First and Main Shopping Center, the World Arena, and University Village can be interpreted to be public areas due to their size, number of stores, and past court rulings. While the malls and shopping center can still impose time, place, and manner restrictions, the charge of trespass will not be appropriate for these five locations in Colorado Springs when addressing free speech rights. BOLOs have been placed on these addresses as a reminder.

All sergeants and officers shall review the additional changes and detailed procedures to be followed in these type cases, which are outlines in General Order 701, dated 01/13/10.

Here is the Coloradans For Peace press release:

Coloradans For Peace and its social justice allies unequivocally reject the City of Colorado Springs assertion to limit free speech rights on public or private property. We reject the conclusion alleged by the City Attorney that current law allows for initiating trespassing charges to curtail individuals “expressing free speech views.”

Whether against antiwar protesters, or activists boycotting Israeli goods stolen from occupied people in violation of international law, we feel that municipal policies should seek to defend, not inhibit, the First Amendment rights of its residents and citizens.

CFP objects to the attempt to set precedent whereby private property landowners operating facilities open to the public can dictate what civil liberties they will allow or disallow. And we certainly oppose law enforcement behavior which takes it upon itself to enforce trespassing charges without being summoned by the traditional complaints to warrant legitimate intervention by police officers.

2 thoughts on “Should local Israel boycott arrestees face wrongful charges alone, without your support or media scrutiny?

  1. to Eric Verlo: I am one of the persons arrested at the Briargate Mall on November 27 and arraigned on January 6. Thank you for being at the Municipal Court at my arraignment. Your presence was very powerful, believe me, and I am truly grateful to you for standing in this way. You certainly gathered the facts for the accounts on NotMyTribe. I also note that you made supportive comments following the news story in the Gazette on January 7 and that over a year ago, you were present and supportive at an event on the Colorado College campus when the campus police advised me that I was on private property. Your work is just GREAT!
    Ted Nace

  2. Ted!
    I will be in touch with you about what next actions we can conjure. I’ve mentioned it online already, but I want you to know I thought your audacity at CC was very inspiring.

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