August 31, 2004

Surveillance Increases at Anti-War Protests

Note orange object on top of lamp-post, looking slightly larger than a PowerAde bottle. It is a new surveillance camera. Photo also shows Fuji blimp cooperating with the NYPD in photographing demonstrators.

At the massive protest against Bush and the war on Iraq in New York City on August 29, 2004, new crowd surveillance techniques were in evidence, if one looked carefully. At least along each block of the mile-long route from the start of the march to Madison Square Garden, the site of the Republican National Convention, there was a small orange object placed on top of lamp-posts, apparently containing a camera (whether it had audio as well as video equipment is not known at this point). Also, a Fuji blimp could be seen continuously floating over the demonstrators, not just advertising Fujifilm, but cooperating with the police department in photographing the demonstration. (This is beside the usual police helicopters stationed at strategic points above the march.)

The New York Daily News of 8/29/04 confirmed the surveillance, without providing much details about the cameras. They stated: "Cops will be mobilized in radio cars and on bicycles, scooters and motorcycles all over the city. Some cops will be posted in the Fujifilm blimp to gain a birdís-eye view of the city. Sharpshooters will eye any suspicious activity from rooftops.

"Radiation detectors and boom-sniffing dogs will screen delegates and politicians, and activities will be monitored from more than 100 cameras positioned at sensitive locations throughout the city, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street, which also will have beefed-up patrols."

Of course, the bourgeois press attempts to lump demonstrators with terrorists, and justifies their surveillance as part of the "war on terror," just as the government uses terrorism as an excuse for imperialist invasions.

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