Thursday, March 17, 2005

Bike Party flier - oweinama

Bike Party flier - oweinama, originally uploaded by Green Biker.

Norman Siegel, former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union (1985-2000) and constant fighter for civil rights is now running for New York Public Advocate in 2005.
You can find out more information about this at:

Recently Mr. Siegel has been involved in protest issues, specifically with the arrest of demonstrators at the Republican National Convention in August of 2004 and in recent arrests and bicycle confiscations at various Critical Mass events.

Mr. Siegel has been in court trying to defend the very lifeblood of the bike ride itself from a police force that seems ever poised to dismantle the event.

In January of 2004, Federal Judge William Pauley ruled that bike riders attending critical mass did not need to apply for or obtain a permit for this ride. This came in response to the NYPD trying to file an injunction against the ride so as to make it illegal to even occur at all. So basically, the situation is like this. Critical Mass is a leaderless event, therefore no one particular individual can make decisions for the group nor can apply for a permit because the ride is an occurrence, not a protest and not a violent group of anarchists who hate all cars and want to destroy the city, as the NYPD would like to have you believe.

Yet, the NYPD is continuing to harass cyclists, make violent arrests and confiscate bicycles at every critical mass since the big one in August 04. This includes massive police presence at the beginning of every ride with multiple police vehicles, helicopters and large divisions of moped officers that are generally the ones ramming bikers and knocking people to the ground. This brings up many questions:

1) Why are people being arrested for traffic violations which should be desk appearance summons?
2) Why are people being arrested for riding in a procession, for participating in an event that a Federal Judge declared did not need a permit?
3) If police are concerned about safety, why are they ramming people’s bicycles with mopeds, riding motorized vehicles on the sidewalk and using SUV’s to corner people riding in a monthly occurrence that is leaderless and ruled by a Federal Judge to not need a permit?
4) Why is there an announcement at the beginning of each ride in Union Square both verbally by loudspeaker and in a written flyer handed out by a different division of the NYPD who does not do the arresting on the ride that you WILL be arrested if you participate in this ride?

This is some of the harassment we cyclists face every day on the streets by both motor vehicles and by the NYPD on critical mass.

It is time for the NYPD to back off! It is also time to instill some leadership at the civic level who will fight for our civil rights and move towards an agenda that does not waste taxpayer resources on a bike ride. This man is Norman Siegel.

He will be having a kick off campaign party this Friday the 18th at the Time’s up bike space on 49 East Houston Street. Please come by, donate to the campaign and meet Norman Siegel. Its time for a change.


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