As one of those arrested for engaging in civil disobedience, I am shocked and outraged to learn that police officers were surreptitiously in attendance at Moral Monday planning meetings under the pretense of identifying “anarchists.”
Unfortunately, there is a long and ugly history of unwarranted U.S. police surveillance of American citizens. The only difference between similar spying on political meetings in the 1950s and 1960s and recent actions by the Raleigh and General Assembly police is an effort to paint peaceful protesters as “anarchists” rather than “communists.”
For the police to suggest that they were looking for anarchists seems disingenuous. Moral Monday protesters were peacefully demanding better government, not the abolition of government. Meetings took place in churches and included briefings on engaging in peaceful protest, remarks by local pastors, songs and prayer.
I have a constitutional right to peacefully assemble and petition my government and should have the freedom to exercise those rights without the threat of covert surveillance. However, this sort of spying stifles free speech. The public and Moral Monday protesters have a right to know the pervasiveness of such spying activities.
Dianna Wynn, Raleigh