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MARCH 3, 2003
1:33 PM
CONTACT:  American Civil Liberties Union
Sanjeev Bery:

Civil Liberties Protest Resolutions Reach Milestone;
ACLU Hails 50th City to Resist Intrusive Federal Actions
WASHINGTON - March 3 - The American Civil Liberties Union today hailed passage of the 50th city council resolution protesting the Bush Administration's continuing disregard for civil liberties.

"Today's milestone demonstrates that this backlash is not an isolated movement," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington National Office. "Millions of Americans, from the Heartland to the coasts, from Alaska to Florida, now live in communities that have through these resolutions voiced their insistence that American society can be both safe and free."

The city of Cotati in Sonoma County, California this week unanimously adopted a resolution making it the 50th community to organize in support of civil liberties since 9/11. The movement to pass these resolutions and city ordinances, several of which seek to limit the implementation of repressive federal policies, has been gaining momentum over the past several months. With today's resolution, the number of Americans living in communities that have passed such measures stands now at approximately 5.5 million people.

Significantly, support for the resolutions has not been isolated to smaller municipalities nor has it been limited to communities generally considered liberal or libertarian. Over the past several months, major cities and communities such as Seattle, Detroit, Denver, San Francisco, Burlington, VT, and Flagstaff, AZ have passed resolutions. Likewise, resolutions have passed in communities as politically diverse as Fairbanks, AK, Carrboro, NC and Northhampton, MA.

Several of the resolutions contain strong limitations on cooperation with controversial government policies, most notably the USA PATRIOT Act. Common provisions require city officials not to spy on constitutionally protected political and religious activities, to prohibit profiling based on race, ethnicity or religious beliefs and to limit local police from participating in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Particularly strong are the Madison, Detroit and Fairbanks ordinances.

"This is democratic participation at its best and most effective," Murphy said. "Millions of Americans are rightly concerned about an Administration that enforces our laws selectively based on race, ethnicity or religion; that has established a parallel system of quasi-military arrest and detention that's used to lock people up when we don't have evidence to put them through civilian courts, and that has no reticence about spying on innocent Americans who are not suspected of being involved in any criminal activity."


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