Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
Both MoveOn.org and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have created online petitions in support of Occupy Tucson in their struggle with the Mayor and Council, the Tucson Police Department, and the Parks and Rec Department.
The members of Occupy Tucson are requesting our help.
The Tucson Police Department is issuing criminal citations to Occupy Tucson protestors who stay in Armory Park past 10:30 p.m. This citation carries a potential sentence of up to a $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail, and up to three years probation.
Mayor Bob Walkup, the Tucson City Council, and City Manager Richard Miranda should support freedom of speech by dismissing all charges against the occupiers and allowing them stay in Armory Park. That’s why I created a petition on SignOn.org, which says:
Dear Tucson City Leadership,
You have it in your power to dismiss all charges against the peaceful demonstrators of Occupy Tucson. We the people of Tucson and southern Arizona call upon you to stand up for our constitutional rights to freedom of speech and peaceable assembly by dismissing these charges and allowing the demonstrators to remain in Armory Park.
Will you sign the petition? Click here to add your name, and then pass it along to your friends:
And from the ACLU…
Free Speech Trampled in Tucson
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Patriot Act. The misguided law, which dramatically expands the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens, has been used to shut down debate across the country. And many post 9-11 government tactics—from censorship and surveillance to detention, denial of due process and excessive force—are still being used by government officials to squelch dissent in Arizona and nationwide. Look outside your own window and you might just see your fellow Arizonans paying the price for exercising their constitutional right to dissent.
Arizonans’ urge to express their First Amendment right to free speech is stronger than ever. The Occupy Phoenix and Occupy Tucson movements have seen hundreds of Arizonans take to the streets to flex their First Amendment muscle and tell their own “We The People” story. These Arizonans know that one of the best ways to honor our Constitution is to exercise the precious rights it guarantees us.
Despite this guarantee, many of these earnest and peaceful protesters have been arrested, harassed, and intimidated during the protests. More than 100 Tucson protesters were charged with various criminal citations as they exercised their right to free speech. Countless Phoenix residents were also charged with violating camping and trespass ordinances as they exercised their right to free speech. Phoenix police initially prevented protesters from camping after hours, but are now letting people stay at Cesar Chavez plaza around the clock. Phoenix protesters can sleep at times, but can’t have any tents or camping gear. But the situation in Tucson is still unresolved.
The ACLU of Arizona remains intently committed to protecting the free speech rights of all Arizonans.
Take action to respect the First Amendment rights of the Occupy Tucson protesters.
Whether you agree with the Occupy movement or not, we can all agree that government can’t stifle peaceful protest and harass people for exercising their constitutional rights. That’s why we’ve provided ACLU resources in Phoenix to ensure that protesters know about their rights when protesting, camping, and photographing police. That’s why we’re coordinating legal representation to make sure that people who were arrested get their full measure of due process in court. That’s why we’re strategizing to convince Tucson city officials to drop charges against the 100-plus people arrested during Occupy Tucson.