Sep 13 2013

Copwatching at No War With Syria rally & march in Boston

Dr. Q

Last Saturday, I participated in a rally and march in Boston to protest the United States federal government’s plan to bomb Syria. I arrived at the protest around 1 pm and stayed until the end. I spent the majority of the time taking photographs.

The first part of the protest was a rally with a number of speakers. After the rally ended, protesters began marching through the city, chanting slogans like “Don’t bomb Syria.” During the course of the march, the Boston police took notice. Naturally, I recorded them.

At one point during the protest, I witnessed part of an incident in which some hecklers told a bike cop that a protester had a knife. The cop frisked the man, but didn’t find a knife. Later, the police told the hecklers to leave the scene. After the march was over, I met up with Rich Fu, a witness to the incident, who explained to me what he saw.

Later during the march, I spotted the same bike cop who frisked the protester and I started recording him again. After a short period of time, he took out his phone and started recording me back. I flashed him a peace sign.

After the march was over, I noticed a Boston police sergeant observing the protest and talking with the bike cop I had seen earlier and a second bike cop. I recorded them for more than 10 minutes until they finally left. Unfortunately, the audio did not turn out very well, but the gist of what happened is that the police were trying to find out who had organized the protest. They asked several people who the “leader” was and who had been using a bullhorn during the protest. They also wrote down the names of groups that had participated. Seeing these cops documenting the protest was not surprising since the Boston Police Department was revealed to have been surveilling antiwar groups thanks to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

I wish I had been able to publish these videos sooner, but I’ve been dealing with some personal issues over the past week and didn’t have any time to edit them.

Oct 6 2011

What I saw at Occupy Boston

Dr. Q

Last Sunday, I decided to attend the Occupy Boston protest which I’ve blogged about a couple times in the past. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the protest, here’s how it’s described on

Occupy Boston is an on-going protest inspired by Occupy Wall Street, which started in New York City on September 17, and is connected to similar demonstrations and occupations taking place around the world. We are raising awareness about the discontent with the American corporate and political systems. We’re inspiring conversation, discussion and debate around topics like corruption, financial inequality, and political immorality.

Occupy Boston is not a single group with a single demand, but we feel our national leaders have let us down too many times, and the government needs to fundamentally change.

One thing that drew me to the protest was the possibility of police brutality and misconduct. There’s been so much brutality and abuse by the NYPD at the Occupy Wall Street protest that it’s difficult to keep track of it all. Luckily, nothing of the sort has happened at Occupy Boston. So far, there have been no arrests at all, let alone police brutality incidents. When I visited the protest on Sunday, the police presence was light and the police didn’t appear to be interacting much with the demonstrators.

Since there was no police activity worth documenting, I decided that I would spend some of my time at the protest taking photos and interviewing people about their reasons for attending. You can watch those interviews below:

I definitely didn’t agree with everything I heard at the protest, but I was still impressed to see so many people gathering together to discuss and advocate ideas that they believe in.

After I talked with some of the protesters, I left Dewey Square for a while to handle some other business and get some food. When I returned to the protest later that evening, I managed to show up just as a march was beginning. I joined in the march, took some more photos, as well as some more video (some of that footage ended up at the beginning of the video embedded above).

After the march, I attended the General Assembly meeting which is one of ways the protesters have coordinated their efforts. Unfortunately, the meeting was pretty long, so I ended up having to leave before it was over. Before I left, I dropped by the Really, Really Free Market tent that protesters had organized and donated a white t-shirt. (If you happen to see anyone wearing this shirt, I’d appreciate a photo.)

You can check out the photographs I took at the protest via Flickr:

Sep 22 2011

Pictures from the Boston Freedom Rally

Dr. Q

I took these photos during last Saturday’s Boston Freedom Rally. Here’s some background information about the event from the official website:

The Boston Freedom Rally is an annual event in Boston, Massachusetts. Held on the third Saturday in September, it is traditionally the second largest annual gathering demanding marijuana law reform in the United States, after the Seattle Hempfest. It is organized by the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MASS CANN), the Massachusetts state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws also known as MASS CANN/NORML.

The first Freedom Rally was held in 1989 in North Adams, Massachusetts. The second was on the dock beside the USS Constitution in 1990. The third was held in front of the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Street and the fourth, in 1992, was held on Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand. In 1995 the Freedom Rally moved to its current location across the Common on the Carty Parade Field.