March 30, 2008




Thank you Dan from TX for this report and your hard work (along with the others...if I knew who they were I'd personally thank them as thank you other boycotters!)

A Great Public Interest!

We handed out all the supplies we had- probably 300-400 fliers, 50 totes, and 150 business cards! Everyone who was at the protest is really curious to know how many fliers we had because they all went like mad- I couldn't keep a flyer in my hand!

We saw two guys with cameras walk right past us, so I don't think they were with the TV stations. There was a bridal show going on in the same facility, so they may have been down there for that. As far as I can tell, no media showed up. We did get people who were willing to go in and 'talk' to the ATA booth for us.

A travel agent working at the booth (he was American) came out and chatted with us and took a photo of the protestors - no clue why, and I really don't care why. (Michelle's note: I wouldn't have done that, but it's too late. You can't trust those people, so just be careful now. You never know what they have up their dirty sleeves.) We got a couple of photos of the Aruba booth- it was pretty small, just a table really, but that seemed typical.

Note: Not the actual ATA table...just a fun
example of imaging how
pathetic and
embarrassing it must have been!

The only sour note was toward the end of the day the people at the doors (security) made people coming into the show with our totes to turn them inside-out.

(And that would be for what reason? Do these idiots not realize that an 'inside-out' tote bag is going to catch someone's eye and then wonder...curiosity strikes and here come the boycotters outside with all the bad acts of Aruba and what was done (or not done-justice) to Natalee.)

That kind of sucked but I don't know what could be done about it- as far as I can tell, the convention center people have the right to dictate behavior on their property.

(Legally, I'm not sure if that constitutes a violation of freedom of speech. The tote bag was not obscene, it did not cause the person carrying the tote to create any specific "behavior", the tote did not have foul language, it was not causing a distraction that would incite a riot or disturbance. But since this was on private property, I'd have to research that one just out of principle.)

One guy also came out and told us that the ATA booth took one guy's bag away from him- apparently they demanded that he give the bag to them and he did. That was stupid since they had no right to do that, but at least we have some dirt on the ATA.

(Need I say more?)

Before we left I talked to the guy in charge of the show, and he said that the ATA had been complaining to him about the protest all day, and he had to tell them that we had permission, we were behaving, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

(When I first read that I about pissed myself laughing...ok, not really, but I was laughing pretty darn hard. The actions of the ATA are just putting more negative attention on Aruba! They have and are continuing to dig their own graves. Oh wait, there's no room for graves in Aruba...I guess it would have to be a cremation or just throwing them into the ocean, I suppose.)




Anonymous said...

From Richard--

I know that in the Boston protest that I organized, the very first one of them all, held almost exactly one year ago, the Seaport police likewise said that anyone who wore a T-shirt with Natalee's picture into the premises of the convention center would face arrest.

This was true not only of the protestors, but even for the general public.

And this was true, they said, of a T-shirt that had NOTHING on it, NO WORDS, except for Natalee's face. (It was put on there by written permission of Dave Holloway -- who, by the way, had given me his specific wishes that nobody in the protests break any laws at all.)

Then, and now, many of us wondered how it could be that the rights of free speech could be abrogated, even on private property. But we wanted to obey the law.

After the protest in Boston was over, I called the Boston office of the American Civil Liberties Union and recounted to them what we had been told. Their reply was that they didn't agree with this ruling at all; that since the convention center had been built in part with public money, they thought that it was public, not private, property; and that they had had clashes with the police there before. They promised to look into this and to get back to me.

They never did call me back ... and by that time, the protest was over anyway.

Still, it's a matter to consider for future protests.

Anonymous said...

Nice job by all that attended the protest. And all that have attended the past ones

Anonymous said...

Great job everyone!

Sounds like Aruba might be feeling the heat a bit? Very interesting they were complaining about the protestors.

Keep it up - keep the pressure on!