|Stop Watching Us rally
Thousands of activists joined forces on Saturday to protest the NSA surveillance of both domestic and international targets by marching on Washington, D.C.
This comes shortly after it was revealed that the NSA spied on the phones of 35 world leaders. Furthermore, both France and Mexico have recently responded quite critically to U.S. surveillance in their countries, though Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a cleverly worded denial of the reports.
On Saturday, it was also reported that 21 countries are in the process of creating a UN resolution to condemn NSA surveillance.
The march was organized by Stop Watching Us, a coalition of over 100 groups ranging from the ACLU to the Electronic Frontier Foundation to FreedomWorks to Demand Progress to the Council on American-Islamic Relations to Occupy Wall Street and many more.
A statement from Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor responsible for leaking the now famous documents exposing mass collection of phone records and widespread internet surveillance, was read to rally participants.
“Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They’re wrong. Now it’s time for the government to learn from us,” Snowden wrote in the statement read by Jesselyn Radack, national security director for the Government Accountability Project.
Radack gestured in the direction of the Capitol building and said, “We are watching you,” according to USA Today.
“Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no Internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA’s hands,” Snowden’s statement read, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
Participants carried a wide variety of signs, but all promoted the same goal of an end to mass surveillance.
The rally featured many notable speakers, including Rep. Justin Amash, a Michigan Republican noted for his defense of privacy.
Amash was an early critic of the NSA’s surveillance and has been an ardent opponent of other pieces of legislation he deemed to be a threat to the Constitution.
Dennis Kucinich also spoke at the rally:
Multiple NSA whistleblowers also showed up at the rally, including Russell Tice:
And Thomas Drake:
There were even rallies in Germany to protest the NSA surveillance in their country:
It remains to be seen if the government will react to the rise of negative popular sentiment in response to NSA spying.
Up until this point, it hasn’t seemed to sway the Obama administration, many legislators and government agencies all that much, since, as the Chicago Tribune put it, they “have defended the NSA programs as crucial in protecting U.S. national security and helping thwart past militant plot[s].”
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.