Dozens assembled at James McGovern’s office on November 29th to draw attention to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) and to ask the congressman to work to repeal the law. Protestors were angered when the AETA was quickly passed by the House of Representative on November 13th with only six of the 435 members voting on it and was signed into law on November 27th by President Bush. Sha’Kuana!, one of the organizers said, “this law plays off the fears of 9/11 by labeling activists as terrorists”. Under the new law, animal rights activists face massive fines and jail time for being involved in nonviolent civil disobedience.

The group gathered at noon with signs, chants, and literature outside the office on Mechanics Street in Worcester, MA. They spoke to passersby about the new law and its affect on civil liberties. After about an hour and a half outside, the group went into the office and presented McGovern’s staff with a letter, petition, and proposed repeal bill. They were then able to speak to the Congressman via speakerphone. He subsequently released a statement agreeing to further dialogue with the activists regarding the AETA at a meeting in January and hopes to address the problems with the law.

These actions are the first steps to repealing the AETA and improving rights for activists globally. Activists in Worcester demonstrated that addressing their congressman directly can bring about positive results. While we call for a diversity of tactics, we believe that similar pressure on lawmakers throughout the nation needs to be applied to build support in Congress and repeal the AETA. In light of increased marginalization and repression of eco-activists by federal officials, all individuals concerned with loss of our civil liberties to need to ban together in protest of the AETA and act in solidarity with victims of the Greenscare.
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