From the Daily Tar Heel, [1/22/03]:

Protesters settled in front of Democratic U.S. Sen. John Edwards’ Raleigh office Tuesday awaiting arrest for their efforts to make a statement that the senator has not gone far enough to oppose war with Iraq. But despite the fact that protesters were breaking the law by blocking an entrance into a government building, the police on site chose not to intervene. Three participating UNC students, Anna Carson-Dewitt and Sascha Bollag, both freshmen, and senior Scott O’Day, said they were disappointed when the police refused to arrest them. All three have prior arrests for civil disobedience. O’Day said the police response undermined the protest. “I am disappointed that the police de-escalated the situation to the point that we were not able to continue with the protest,” he said. “We were more or less sure that we would be arrested, but the police weren’t cooperating….” “If one action does not provoke arrest, we will step it up and step it up until we provoke arrest.”
Civil disobedience means disobeying an unjust law to protest its injustice, and being willing to go to jail for it. But there is nothing unjust about laws against blocking entrance into buildings. These little thugs want to violate people’s rights and then dress themselves up in the mantle of martyrdom by getting themselves arrested. But since the nature of this con is now clear to everyone, their arrests would gain them no moral respect from anyone who isn’t stupid or dishonest. The police should just go ahead, and the law should impose punishment that would actually discourage such behavior.

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