Animal Rights Collective Blog

GMU Police Trample First Amendment Rights by christine

George Mason University police violated the First Amendment rights of protesters during the Ringling Brothers Circus demonstrations. The protesters were Mason students, as well as members of the local community.

Before the Ringling Brothers protests last week, several metal barricades were erected by the GMU police. The barricades severely restricted both our movement and our message. The barricades prevented animal rights leafletters from distributing informative pamphlets and ultimately restricted their message and actions. As of this evening, additional barricades further hindered our ability to distribute information.

The erection of the barricades was ridiculous considering our nonviolent and lawful actions. Their placement was meant to demonize us and it demonstrates bias against animal rights protesters.

Our goal during the demonstrations was to educate patrons about the animal abuse that occurs in circuses. We also encouraged circus patrons not to endorse animal circuses in the future.

If obstructing traffic was our goal, then we would have engaged in different tactics. We would not be leafleting and holding signs; but instead, chaining ourselves to the Patriot Center entrances.

We were lawful during these protests and there was no reason for the GMU police to violate our First Amendment rights.

From This:

Protesters clearly NOT blocking traffic.

To This:

Same area (West Entrance), shot facing left instead of right.

This isn’t the first time…

9/29/05 – “We are writing to inform you of a serious violation of civil liberties and blatant racism that occurred on campus today. Tariq Khan, a Pakistani-American student at George Mason, was assaulted and detained by the George Mason police. His crime? Standing 4 feet from the U.S. Marine recruiting table with an 8×11 piece of paper reading, “RECRUITERS TELL LIES” held by tape to his shirt. Tariq, an Air Force veteran, was exercising his right to express his opinion that military recruiters have no business being on a college campus. He was harassed by members of the ROTC – one of whom, a self-described Iraqi war veteran, stated that he couldn’t wait to go back to Iraq to kill more Iraqis.”

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