Stop the spies and lies

From the May-June 2014 issue of News & Letters:

Stop the spies and lies

Los Angeles—On April 10, 200 youths of all races gathered at the Norwalk Fusion Center on the First National Day of Protest. Protests were also held in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Dallas, San Francisco and Oakland. There are about 80 such centers in the U.S.

We protested to close down the Fusion Center that stores data from government and local police spying on private telephone conversations, internet communications and Los Angeles Police Dept.’s Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) or “I Watch” and Special Order 1 (people spying on people and LAPD Surveillance and secret file program). SAR reports are primarily about non-criminal activities such as taking photographs of buildings, writing notes, drawing or painting landmarks or inquiring about business hours.

The Fusion Center locked its doors to keep us out as we held a spirited protest with signs and banners reading: “Stop LAPD Spying—Spies, Lies and Secret Files,” “Shut down all Fusion Centers” and “Suspicious Activity Reports on Blacks, Browns and Poor Young Queers.” We stood outside chanting and displaying our signs to the workers and police inside the glass walls of the eight-story building.

The rally ended with a skit of police harassing and interrogating a robot. This was followed by speakers from Los Angeles Community Action Network, Stop the LAPD Spying Coalition, Youth Justice Coalition and the National Lawyers Guild.

—Basho

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