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News - G-8 planners

For finding a new definition of prior restraint'"

Last summer, when the G-8 Summit was first announced for the wealthy enclave of Sea Island, Gov. Sonny Perdue said everyone would be welcomed, even peaceful demonstrators.

That was then.

For nearly a year, the very demonstrators invited by Perdue have struggled merely to obtain the necessary permits and venues to set up shop in nearby Brunswick. They discovered that any facilities large enough to suit their purposes had already been snapped up by the federal and state government — save for school buildings, which the local Board of education was willing to rent only to government agencies. So much for the people's property. Other potential landlords were understandably spooked by the prospect of the property damage that could result from a Miami-style assault by overzealous riot cops.

Meanwhile, Brunswick's reactionary elders passed a number of ill-informed and unconstitutional restrictions on organized protests, such as a Stalinesque edict — since tossed out — that would have made it illegal for six or more people to gather without a permit. Those ordinances have since been revised, but the changes came about only after a lawsuit was filed by the ACLU on behalf of the demonstrators. The changes give wide discretion to local police when dealing with public gatherings if the governor has declared a "state of emergency". Coincidentally enough, Perdue declared just such a state of emergency last month.

The red tape, legislative roadblocks and procedural delays have kept protesters scrambling for months to find a location where they can gather and exercise the rights they are supposedly guaranteed under the First Amendment. With no venue firmed up, groups once committed to coming to Brunswick have dropped out, leaving organizers no choice but to scale back the scope of their activities. For example, The Other Economic Summit, which follows G-8s from city to city every year with a robust academic panel that offers alternatives to current globalization policies, will have just a few dozen speakers in Brunswick.

As Trent Schroyer, a co-organizer of The Other Economic Summit, puts it, "This isn't Southern hospitality. This is Southern hostility."?





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