UfPJ blew it. Demonstration and…

UfPJ blew it. Demonstration and March at RNC

United for Justice and Peace just notified their listserv that they now have serious doubts about the march and rally permit they negotiated with New York City for the protests during the Republican National Convention.

Yes, New York City played serious hardball on the permits. But this is not the first time that UfPJ has given away major concessions during negotiations, then complained the terms were too strict and the authorities unbending.

The priimary problem is the rally site they agreed to, the West Side Highway. Yes, that’s right, they let NYC force them to have the rally on a freeway.

We have heard from a number of medical professionals that there are serious potential public health risks associated with holding our rally on the West Side Highway, away from shade, stores, and public transit.

Well, duh, this should have been obvious from the beginning. Plus, the sound system will, they estimate, cost $300,000, far beyond their means. Again, something they should have anticipated.

Other issues include

The use of police barricades to pen in protesters, which we emphatically oppose, and access to free drinking water and shuttle buses, which are essential given the highway’s lack of shade and remote location.

UPJ now complains that NYC refuses to negotiate on any on these issues. What did they expect? They agreed to this noxious rally site, and now after the fact try to win concessions from a city clearly determined to give none.

Just before the Iraq invasion, UfPJ was involved in a similar debacle, where through their, in my view, inept negotiating, they let the city refuse them a rally site at the UN, and on the day of the event, hundreds of thousands of protestors were penned in by barricades set up by police. This didn’t have to happen.

Now it appears they’ve gone and screwed things up again. Thus, this major march and rally may end up being a dud.

However, this just in, ANSWER has a march and rally planned for Thursday June 2.

On Thursday, September 2, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition has initiated a demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Haitian people, and others who are resisting U.S. occupation. The demonstration will begin with a rally at 5 PM at the Israeli Mission to the United Nations, at 43rd St. and 2nd Avenue. We will highlight opposition to the Bush administration’s support for the Israeli Apartheid Wall. Following a rally at the Israeli Mission, we will march to rally at the Haitian Consulate, located at 40th St. and Madison Ave., and other symbols of U.S. intervention.