April 20, 2008

Activism: Support the Ferg Four

Rally at the Courthouse Friday, May 2nd!

Support freedom of speech!

Dear friends, supporters, and fellow peace activists--

As you already know, four protesters- one member of Iraq Veterans Against the
War (IVAW) and three members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)- were
arrested several weeks ago at the University of Alabama during an antiwar
protest in the UA Ferguson Center, a "mock-raid" done to theatrically
demonstrate the effects of the U.S. occupation on Iraqi civilian life. All four
were detained for over four hours (during which UA-PD insinuated that they were
terrorists) and then finally charged with disorderly conduct and taken to
Tuscaloosa City Jail in handcuffs, their bail set at a total of $2,500.

This blatant disregard for our right to free speech has outraged professors,
activists, and concerned citizens across the country. The ACLU, National Lawyers
Guild, and Southern Poverty Law Center have all joined the fight to get all
charges dropped for the "Ferg Four." On Friday morning,May 2nd, the four will be
faced with criminal charges for protesting the war, for trying to bring to light
the immeasurable suffering the U.S. occupation has brought to Iraqi civilians.

In the post 9-11 climate of persecution and fear, our rights have become even
more restricted, and student activists more repressed. University campuses are
supposed to be politicized spaces that expand the knowledge and understanding
students have of the world we live in- if we cannot protest on our own campuses,
where can we? We refuse to be confined to "free-speech zones," designated spaces
for students to express themselves, which imply that the rest of the campus is a
"restricted-speech zone." We refuse to be harrassed, intimidated, and silenced
on our own campuses for standing up for justice!

SDS-Tuscaloosa is calling on everyone to join us at Tuscaloosa County Courthouse
at 8:30 AM to rally in solidarity for the SDS and IVAW members arrested. We are
planning to protest outside the courthouse and, when the trial begins, to pack
the courtroom with supporters. Please help send a strong message the D.A. and to
the UA administration that their repressive actions are unacceptable by joining
us on May 2nd!

Tell the city of Tuscaloosa that protest is not a crime!
Defend Free Speech- Rally Outside the Courthouse May 2nd!

Tuscaloosa County Courthouse: 714 Greensboro Ave

For more details, contact Chapin Gray at 251.605.7780 or chapinrose@gmail.com

To sign the petition, visit http://www.petitiononline.com/tusc2612/petition.html.To contribute directly to SDS-Tuscaloosa to help with court costs, visit
Contribution checks made payable to Tuscaloosa SDS may also be mailed to "Ferg Four" Defense Fund, c/o Tuscaloosa SDS
c/o Tuscaloosa SDS, P.O. Box 864153, Tuscaloosa, AL 35486

"Foundation for a Democratic Society (FDS), a branch of the Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), was created in part to provide assistance with legal expenses for those who are prosecuted as a result of social change activities aimed at bringing about a more just and democratic society and a better world. We believe through their efforts to educate students at the University of Alabama about the realities of daily life in Iraq under U.S. occupation, members of Tuscaloosa Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) were targeted by those seeking to uphold an unjust policy of foreign occupation and an oppressive social order. We hereby express our support and solidarity with our sisters and brothers in SDS and IVAW who were arrested and indicted for legitimate free _expression_ at the University of Alabama. We insist that the University of Alabama respect civil liberties, call for all charges against the "Ferg Four" to be dropped, and join Tuscaloosa SDS and IVAW in demanding an immediate end to the war against Iraq."

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