Saturday, July 2, 2011

Did the Democratic Party attempt to silence critics of Pelosi’s health care reform plan?

November 8, 2009 by Patrick  
Filed under Health

The below excerpt is from the Concord Monitor’s story on yesterday’s Organizing for America rally, which attracted a group of counter-protesters who oppose Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s health reform measure (which passed the U.S. House on Saturday night at 11:00 PM).

We have contacted Democratic Chair Ray Buckley to see if the account is accurate and under what authority the Democratic Party feels it can decide who is permitted to peaceably assemble, speak freely and petition the government. We will update this item when and if he responds.

Wolczko was among the 40 or so demonstrators who came to Concord to express their opposition to the bill. Carrying signs with messages like “No to socialized medicine” and “Constitution now,” they began their protest on the sidewalk and slowly edged closer to the larger event, ultimately clashing with organizers who asked them to leave because they didn’t have a permit.

“We have a First Amendment right to be here,” said Susan Carroll of Atkinson, who later said it was her “patriotic duty” to protest.

Mike Brunelle, the executive director of the Democratic Party, eventually stopped arguing with the opposition demonstrators and let them stay.

“The last thing we need is people being confrontational,” he said.

But the group made its view of the situation known, offering anti-legislation cheers throughout the rally, a few while speakers were addressing the crowd. Most speakers ignored the interruptions, while health care advocates in the audience mustered impromptu chants to drown out the protests.

State Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassen, a Democrat from Exeter, addressed the conflict head-on.

“How we do this shouldn’t depend on who can yell the most loudly,” she said.

UPDATE: A leftwing blogger who attended the rally offers a less sensational, less troubling account HERE.

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