Democrat Convention 2004 - "Protest pen" photos

Curtailing free speech at the July 2004 Democrat convention in Boston: Romney's role

Romney … requested federal spending as Massachusetts governor. The Associated Press reported in 2004 that Romney met with appropriations committee member Robert Bennett, a Republican senator from Utah, to secure extra money in the defense budget for security in Boston during the Democratic National Convention. Boston got an additional $25 million, on top of $25 million that was previously approved. [Shira Schoenberg, Boston Globe, 2-13-12]

"Judge deplores but OK's site for protesters": A federal judge yesterday upheld a fenced "free speech zone" for protesters near the Fleet Center during next week's Democratic convention, even though he said he agreed with critics who likened the cramped space to an internment camp. US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ruled that the controversial protest zone wedged under abandoned Green Line elevated tracks could not be expanded or relocated because of limited space near the arena and security concerns. "There really isn't any other place to go," Woodlock told several antiwar activists who gathered with their lawyers and government officials in his courtroom. "You're stuck under the tracks." [Jonathan Saltzman, Boston Globe, 7-23-04]

PHOTOS below show what the federal funds helped pay for: an anti-free-speech “protest pen” a block from the DNC Convention Center entrance, enclosed by chain-link fence and concertina wire, and patrolled by armed National Guard troops (under Governor Romney's command).  Most of the photos are in downtown Boston. But a few at the end are in Lexington, Mass. where a special re-enactment of the Revolutionary battle  was held for conventioneers (though very few attended). Again, the local police were out in force, keeping protesters corralled behind barriers, and not even allowing lawful movement on public sidewalks. I was there. It was an outrage. 

(BTW, this is the convention where Obama gave his “coming out” speech. And 2004 nominee John Kerry was then still saying he opposed same-sex marriage.)

                CLICK ON PHOTOS to view as SLIDESHOW with captions:

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