In case you weren’t aware, I want to point out that there will be thousands of people on the streets of Downtown Miami this week to protest the Free Trade Area of the Americas Summit, beginning Thursday. The FTAA is an attempt to bring NAFTA style so-called “free trade” to the entire western hemisphere.
A Miami/FTAA IMC has been set up to provide the resources for independent grassroots coverage of the summit and the protests. Police presence has been incredibly high, with many reports that the cops are targeting protestors and activists for intimidation and harrassment.
As has been the case with recent anti-war protests in DC, and anti-corporate-globalization protests in Italy and Quebec, the police often do not distinguish between protestors, reporters and ordinary citizens, who all become the target of police violence and “non-lethal” weapons. With such an enormous police presence, we shouldn’t be surprised if the cops crack down on the IMC as soon as they can think up an excuse. Independent media reporters expose these strong-arm repressive tactics. That exposure is a threat to any power that relies upon these tactics to maintain power.
In addition to their website, the FTAA IMC has a web radio station set up, with several mirror streams to accomodate lots of listeners. Infoshop.org has also set up a special FTAA page to compile links to reports about the summit and protests from both the alternative and mainstream media.
Nine members of my local Urbana-Champaign IMC have joined the thousands in Miami and will be filing reports by phone and Internet to the U-C IMC website. The IMC’s “home support” crew is staying at the IMC most of the day Thursday and Friday to take calls from our reporters and publish the reports. With luck, I will be airing a live call-in report from some of the reporters during the mediageek radioshow this Friday at 5:30 on WEFT. For those of you outside the listening area, I will try hard to get the program archived here very quickly.