Twitter User Arrested for G20 Updates
Self-proclaimed NY anarchist and Twitter-user Elliot Madison may be the first person in America to face criminal charges for the use of electronic communications devices to update protesters about police activity during the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh. Madison and co-defendant, Michael Wallschlaeger, were arrested in their motel room during the summit’s protest when police raided the room and found scanners, headphones, computers and maps in their room.
Last week, FBI officials raided Madison’s home in Queens and confiscated books, clothing, computers and posters of Marx and Lenin. Since then, a federal judge has halted investigation of the confiscated materials, until a further briefing on October 16th to determine if a court order would be warranted.
The arrest and criminal charges against Madison has raised questions regarding First Amendment rights, free speech and the use of texting and social networking devices, such as Twitter, as a form of unlawful activity.
This year’s G-20 march drew thousands of protestors, including a collective that calls themselves the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project, as well as individuals and groups such as the Thomas Merton Center, The Self-Described Anarchist Collective and the Raging Grannies - Pittsburgh. Other groups marching this year included members of China's Falun Gong sect, Veterans for Peace, Oxfam America, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.
In response to police repression and the denial and delay of permits, a follow up campaign to address such issues can be found at the Thomas Merton Center’s Campaign for Justice and Accountability in the Wake of the G-20, as well as support for the arrested students and an online petition are at http://www.whathappenedatpitt.com/.
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