85% of Republicans support Net Neutrality. This morning, Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) gave a press conference outlining his opposition to Chairman Wheeler and President Obama’s push to reclassify the Internet as Title II. In other words, he spoke on behalf of big telecom companies who want toll booths for a restricted access internet, as opposed to the open internet we have today.
His speech and opposition are not only a show of support for big corporations, they are in direct opposition to the wishes of his constituents. To make sure he, and the media present at this event, were starkly aware of that fact, Popular Resistance activists Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, stood up during the press conference to loudly and clearly display the voice of that 85%.
The action was short lived due to a security force that acted more as if it were training for combating ISIS than policing press conferences. Both Zeese and Flowers were knocked to the ground, pushed violently and continued to be pushed and physically assaulted once outside the conference room.
While getting a few of the pictures below outside of the FCC, a guard remarked that I couldn’t take pictures of the building, nor could they stand outside the building with a sign. In fact, they weren’t even allowed to stand on the sidewalk to the side of the building. Zeese tried to politely reason with the officers – whose numbers rose from 1 to about 6 rather quickly.
“So the Constitution doesn’t apply on Federal Property?”
“Why can’t I take a picture?” I asked. “What law prohibits it?” She looked blankly at me and said, “Because you just can’t.”
This same reasoning was applied when Zeese and Flowers walked slowly away from the building, being pushed further and further away with the sign.
“You can’t stand there,” they kept saying.
“So where is the line for the Constitution? Where does Free Speech end?” he asked.
Not that any answer would have been appropriate but none was given. The guards didn’t know why the Constitution didn’t apply there, it just didn’t.
Regardless, we got some good shots outside the building and a few from the inside. Although the rapid and rabid response of FCC security made it nearly impossible for Zeese and Flowers to unfurl the sign completely, their voices were heard, the sign was captured and social media along with international media station, RT America, have been and will continue to spread this message: Net Neutrality is not a partisan issue, it is a freedom and rights issue. Republicans want it. Democrats want it. The people want it.
#SaveTheNet #NetNeutrality @PopResistance