Pomp or Protest

Choosing the Narrative for the GOP Convention

Convention organizers have promised to honor the rights of protesters, and Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told the Voice that while some credentialing issues are undecided, he does not plan to embed reporters. Asked about press restrictions, Browne noted that unlike convention events, protests are open to the public. He said that both credentialed media and freelancers will have "open access" to protesters. Photographers can expect to get "as close as possible to whatever it is that they want to photograph," he added, and reporters "will have complete access both to the demonstrators and the police, as long as they're not interfering with an arrest. We don't plan to restrict them in such a way that embedding would be an alternative."

Despite assurances, some organizers have grown impatient for details. United for Peace and Justice, for one, has applied for permits on August 29, a date when they expect a huge crowd of protesters to march up Eighth Avenue and rally in Central Park. But no permit has materialized. Spokesperson Bill Dobbs isn't ready to accuse the police of foot-dragging, but "the more the clock ticks, the uncertainty works against the organizers."

At some point, the NYPD will announce a deadline for protest applications. "We want to make sure all the players have applied," said Browne. "Once we have a notion of what that universe is, then we'll tackle them."


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