via Restore the Fourth NYC:
First Civil Disobedience Over NSA Spying Scandal Demands AT&T-Funded Rep Who #Voted4BigBrother Apologize & Support Reform
Members of the New York City chapter of Restore the Fourth, the grassroots, nonpartisan movement dedicated to restoring the Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans, engaged in a sit-in Monday afternoon to protest Congressman Gregory Meeks’ vote to fund NSA programs which collect the call records of every American. Four members of the group have volunteered to risk arrest to symbolize the seizure of the 4th Amendment by the NSA and its congressional supporters. This action comes as the front page of Monday’s New York Times says efforts to rein in NSA bulk surveillance have “built a momentum that even critics say may be unstoppable.”
“Representative Meeks #Voted4BigBrother and against the 4th Amendment, his constituents, and the rights of every American,” said sit-in participant Ben Doernberg. “Perhaps Meeks’ largest 2014 election campaign donor, AT&T, which charges taxpayers $325 for every wiretap it activates, played a role in his vote.” The group is demanding that Rep. Meeks apologize for his vote for the unconstitutional program and commit to supporting future measures to end blanket surveillance.
Earlier in the day, members of the group delivered a thank-you note and 4th Amendment cake to the office of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who upheld the constitution and the will of his constituents by supporting the Amash Amendment ending the NSA’s blanket surveillance of Americans, an amendment which came only 12 votes short, 205-217.
According to polling expert Nate Silver, there has been “a significant shift in public opinion on the trade-off between civil liberties and national security.” In a reflection of this wave of public opinion, thousands of Americans holding a wide range of political views turned out on July 4th for Restore the Fourth rallies across the country.
Restore the Fourth’s next national day of action, 1984 Day, will be on 8/4 The date was chosen to highlight the risks posed by creating systems of pervasive surveillance, as outlined in the dystopian novel 1984. “We welcome New Yorkers to join us in Bryant Park 3pm Sunday, 8/4 to demand an end to blanket surveillance and remind policymakers that 1984 is a warning, not an instruction manual” said Cristina Winsor.
Those risking arrest: Tom Colella, 19, Ben Doernberg, 24, Madison Velding-VanDam, 27, and Cristina Winsor, 36.