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United Nations officials are using American taxpayers’ money, which subsidizes UN operations, to put their noses into the treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters in various cities across the United States.
In a letter written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by Frank La Rue, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Maina Kiai, UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the UN officials demanded an explanation of “the behavior of police departments that violently disbanded some Occupy protests last fall.”
The letter, sent in December 2011, was publicly released last week in connection with the 20th annual United Nations Human Rights Council meeting. It complained of “forced removal” by law enforcement officials in various cities, including New York, Portland, Seattle, Denver and Oakland, of “unwilling protesters from the public areas in which they were located.” The letter theorized that the primary reason for the “forced removal” was “related to their dissenting views, criticisms of economic policies, and their legitimate work in the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Innocent civilians are being massacred every day in places like Syria and Sudan, which the UN is helpless to prevent. Yet these special rapporteurs focus their attention instead on an internal domestic matter that is none of their business — how local law enforcement officials in the United States decide to deal with lawless behavior. Moreover, the allegations they cite are way off the mark. The police across our country dealt with the utmost patience and restraint against increasingly criminal and violent elements that were taking over the Occupy Wall Street movement. Not to mention having to deal with the public nuisance and public health problems caused by unsanitary conditions in the “public areas” where the occupiers encamped, which were encroaching on the rights of residents and businesses in the affected areas.
Let’s take New York City, for example. Protesters began to “occupy” the quasi-public Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011. The park is technically privately owned but is dedicated to public use. The police did not immediately intervene, declaring that it was up to the owner, Brookfield Office Properties, to make and implement rules for the park’s use. A spokesperson for Brookfield expressed concern, but in fact the park owner took no steps at first to evict the occupiers from the park:
Zuccotti Park is intended for the use and enjoyment of the general public for passive recreation. We are extremely concerned with the conditions that have been created by those currently occupying the park and are actively working with the City of New York to address these conditions and restore the park to its intended purpose.
On October 6, 2011, Brookfield issued a statement which said, “Sanitation is a growing concern… the park has not been cleaned since Friday, September 16th and as a result, sanitary conditions have reached unacceptable levels.” Nevertheless, despite plenty of provocations by the occupiers against the police who were trying to keep the peace in the area, the occupiers were still permitted to stay put.
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