More Fines for ANSWER Coalition

Today, one week after it filed a free speech lawsuit, the ANSWER Coalition today received a second round of fines for another $10,350 for posters promoting the September 15 March on Washington to End the War on Iraq. In the last two weeks, the ANSWER Coalition has been fined a total of $21,000. There is an effort underway by several branches of the government to disrupt the organizing for the September 15 march, which will be led by Iraq war veterans and their families.

The ANSWER Coalition reports that it is facing new sanctions for placing signs around Washington, DC, advertising its Sept. 15 peace rally. This time, the anti-war group was hit with $10,350 in fines by the capital city’s Department of Public Works — that new sum is in addition to $10,000 in fines levied against the coalition two weeks ago.

I have yet to find media reports about the new fines, but this is what ANSWER has to say in a press release about the matter:

Today, one week after it filed a free speech lawsuit, the ANSWER Coalition today received a second round of fines for another $10,350 for posters promoting the September 15 March on Washington to End the War on Iraq. In the last two weeks, the ANSWER Coalition has been fined a total of $21,000. There is an effort underway by several branches of the government to disrupt the organizing for the September 15 march, which will be led by Iraq war veterans and their families.

Two weeks ago, in the face of the first round of fines, thousands of people called or sent emails to DC government officials insisting that the fines be rescinded. On Monday, August 20, constitutional rights attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice filed a major lawsuit against the government challenging anti-postering regulations that have been used to fine the ANSWER Coalition. …

Now, we believe the most important thing is to focus on building the demonstration itself. We believe that we can prevail with the combined force of our legal challenge and political support. But the best way of thwarting the government’s effort to disrupt the organizing for the September 15 Mass March is to build that march so that it reaches its full potential.

The last thing the Bush administration wants to see is people from all over the United States joining together in the streets of Washington DC led by Iraq war veterans and the family members of soldiers and marines, in combination with the Arab American and Muslim community, demanding the immediate end of the criminal war and occupation in Iraq.

One might suspect that the fines and the subsequent filing of a lawsuit present a valuable marketing tool for the coalition’s Sept. 15 march.

If anyone sees a news item about the new fines, we would love to see it — and if we see it before you do, fear not, we will post the information.

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