During the September 2009 G-20 in Pittsburgh, PA, the RNC '08 Report played a key role in both independent reporting on the scene and media aftermath work. Our experience provided needed support to both journalists and activists facing similar police measures seen in the Twin Cities during the 2008 Republican National Convention. Previously, the RNC '08 Report offered key coverage of the early 2009 G-20 protests in London, UK. Plans are in the early preparation stage to attend and document the coming G-20 in Toronto, Canada in June 2010.
Words of praise for the RNC '08 Report:
Bruce Nester, Minnesota Chapter President of the National Lawyers Guild
"The RNC '08 Report, since its inception in September 2008, has been supporting our Chapter's efforts to protect and defend the First Amendment rights of the thousands of people who came out in protest of the Republican National Convention held in Saint Paul, September 1st-4th 2008. Over $50 million dollars was spent on security for the Convention, during which over 800 people were arrested, 75% in mass arrest situations. The sheer scale of the repression--which also included pre- Convention raids on protest organizers--made tracking events and finding related materials to help fight cases extremely difficult and costly.
In a dramatic move, aimed at leveling the imbalances in the information playing field by offering a free, public and globally accessible database of information relating to the event, the RNC '08 Report took on the daunting task of archiving all aspects of the government crackdown on dissent that began with multiple, violent police raids beginning Friday, August. 29th.
The RNC '08 Report website shows no prejudice towards sources when adding material to the archive, offering FBI and police documents alongside protester statements and narratives, offering both commercial and independent media reports, and ongoing listings of all 2008 RNC-related events. Having all these materials archived, searchable, and organized--by Key People, Event, Source, Data, and Topic-- is an invaluable resource for the many pro bono lawyers who are currently defending protesters from criminal charges they received while asserting their rights to free speech and assembly.
The RNC '08 Report is an outstanding example of how the efforts of ordinary citizens can playa crucial role in defending the First Amendment freedoms to publicly associate and petition the government for redress of grievances."
Coleen Rowley, 9/11 FBI Whistleblower and lecturer/writer on Civil Liberties and Effective Investigation
"The egregious militarized policing of the RNC "National Special Security Event" entailed infiltration and over-collection of data about peace and justice activist groups which led to mass arrests, liberal use of chemical weapons, lasers, and preemptive search/seizures. This negatively impacted and greatly chilled the exercise of First Amendment rights.
Given this critical context, Nigel Parry quickly recognized the acute need to organize and document the various news and documentary analysis as well as government documents and legal and judicial rulings that would stem from this historical event.
The RNC '08 Report thus came into being, providing a tremendous resource for those, like myself, who study and write on First Amendment and other constitutional law issues. In addition, it has become an outlet of communication to the public over and above that furnished by the mainstream corporate media.
In the wake of the "9.11 changed everything" overreaction (and repressive mentality), the RNC '08 Report has contributed immensely to the effort to restore the contours of free speech rights and other constitutional protections vital to the healthy functioning of our representative democracy."
Melissa Hill on behalf of the Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure
"As a grassroots, non-hierarchical organization, CRASS has been working to support more than over 800 people who were arrested during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Many of these people were arrested, harassed, tear-gassed, or otherwise experienced numerous violations of their basic rights during this National Special Security Event.
The RNC '08 Report has been great resources for us, as it has provided us an easy way to access all the available information published on the incidents before, during and after the Convention. Due to Nigel's work, we are able to easily search the website and find articles, pictures, and videos that relate to specific arrests or incidents without having to stress our own limited resources.
The RNC '08 Report also provides us with links to various independent sources, hard-to-find government reports, and videos or images that may be overlooked or lost without this type of archival website. The RNC '08 Report has been there to chronicle everything, and it is especially useful when something is generally ignored by mainstream sources.
Finally, the RNC '08 Report will continue to be a resource for us as we can use it as to tell the story of what really happened in those late days in August and early days of September. Nigel's work will continue to help us inform future activists and those concerned with civil liberties about what happened when the Convention came to St. Paul, and what they may need to prepare for if a National Security Special Event comes to their town."
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