DNC demonstration zone draws protests in Berkeley

Activists in Berkeley, Calif., who are planning to confront the Democratic National Convention this month are holding a rally today to protest a fenced-in “free speech zone” that is more than 700 feet away from the Pepsi Center in Denver, where the event will be held.

World Can’t Wait, a national left-leaning group that works to end the Iraq War, is organizing the Berkley protest at noon today in front of the Obama Headquarters at 3225 Adeline St., Berkeley, according to an issued statement: 

On Thursday, August 14 at noon, World Can’t Wait-Drive Out the Bush Regime and others will hold a dramatic press conference at Barack Obama’s Berkeley Headquarters condemning this suppression of dissent.

Last week a U.S. District Court ruled that protesters’ free speech rights must give way to "national security," allowing the government to force march permits to end 3 hours before the convention begins. Protesters will be kept away from the convention center and allowed only into chain link fenced cages 700 feet from the center’s door. These "freedom cages" are reminiscent of Guantanamo and will be ringed by police and concrete barriers. Huge media tents are being erected between the cages and the convention.

Notable World Can’t Wait supporters — including historian Howard Zinn, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney — have signed a letter calling for protests in Denver to end the Iraq war.

DNC demonstration zone fence. (Photo/Erin Rosa) DNC demonstration zone area. (Photo/Erin Rosa)

The DNC demonstration zone outside

the Pepsi Center. (Photo/Erin Rosa)

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.