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[Nettime-nl] Activists use high-tech in inaugural protests (van CNN geplukt)

Activists use high-tech in inaugural protests

New York's International Action Center has used its Web page to organize
inaugural protests and bring members together for events

January 19, 2001
Web posted at: 4:27 PM EST (2127 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Forget peace signs and burning draft cards. The
malcontents of 2001 are tuning in with handheld computers, cell phones and
Web cameras ready to broadcast any police abuses to the world.

Though disparate in their causes, the thousands of activists protesting
President-elect George W. Bush's inauguration this weekend are unified in
using the latest technology to challenge the establishment.

And that means that, unlike their 1960s forebears, they may be more
concerned with battery power than flower power.

Inauguration Day

Ricardo Dominguez, a supporter of the Zapatista rebels in Mexico, boasts
that his role is to spread "information about electronic civil

Dominguez plans to use a new Web-based bulletin board system, called Upoc,
to send short messages to fellow activists in the crowd and around the
world -- who can receive them on laptops, cell phones, handheld computers
and pagers.

He's also offering tools to help "hacktivists" disrupt or deface Web sites
with anti-Bush slogans.

"I think some of the folks on this list would like the information,"
Dominguez said.

Many of the protesters cut their teeth at a major protest at world trade
talks in Seattle in 1999. The technology has improved since then.

For instance, Brian Goldman, 29, a Web designer and self-described
anarchist, is using his handheld Handspring Visor computer hooked to a
wireless modem to track police movements, send instant electronic alerts to
fellow protesters and make records of any police actions he believes violate
civil rights.

His wireless modem came onto the market just a few months ago.

"I plan to spend Saturday standing in solidarity with fellow workers against
the entrenchment of corporate tyranny, ... marching and documenting civil
rights abuses and procedural mistakes by the various police agencies," said
Goldman, part of a group that calls itself the Revolutionary
Anti-Authoritarian Bloc.

Sarah Sloan, staff organizer at the International Action Center in New York,
said her group has been using e-mail lists to coordinate nationwide
inaugural protests and keep members abreast of details such as their fight
with Washington authorities to get protest permits.

"It's been crucial to keep in touch with people all over the world who will
come to the demonstration and support us in a public pressure campaign,"
Sloan said. "We'll be sending updates right up until the last minute."

The action center will be demonstrating at Washington's Freedom Plaza, on
the inaugural parade route. Sloan said they also have used live chats and
discussion lists to share ideas about the protest.

Technology provides instant updates
Several members of the Upoc "Resistance" list said the instant access is
useful for tracking police movements and violent incidents.

"Since I plan to document the protest, I'm planning to use the Resistance
list to monitor the situation around the city," Goldman said. "I'm also
planning to use it to keep others apprised of the situation wherever I am,
should the need for a broadcast message arise."

Upoc spokeswoman Loren Pomerantz said she knew about the list but stressed
that her company neither "condones nor condemns" any particular group, and
it caters to all interests, from sports to the latest dot-com company

Other groups will be using their tools to keep an eye on the authorities.
The Independent Media Center, a self-proclaimed "alternative" news service,
plans live audio and video broadcasts on the Web.

The group's members will call in on cell phones or pay phones, and listeners
worldwide will be able to hear their reports.

"If the police are going to arrest some people who are blocking an area, we
want definitely to have crews out there," said staff member Eddie Becker.
"We feel it's our duty to report on what the police are reacting to and
whether the use of force is an overreaction."

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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