March 05, 2003

More fallout from the privatization of public spaces

As more and more public space becomes private space, that is, as Malls and Shopping Centers replace shopping streets and town squares, we're seeing more interesting fallout from the privatization of public spaces. These new "public spaces" are not really public, they're patrolled by private security forces, they have their own rules, and users of these spaces give up rights that they would have in traditional public spaces.

Monday, a most interesting thing happened. A man was arrested for wearing a T-shirt that said "No War With Iraq".

Here's how it went down: Stephen Downs and his son went to a custom T-shirt shop in the mall, and got 2 pro-peace T-shits made. One said, "Let Inspections Work" and "No War With Iraq". The other shirt read "Give Peace A Chance" and "Peace On Earth". They then put the shirts on, and went to get something to eat in the food court. They were not interfering with other shoppers or verbally protesting. They were just wearing their shirts.

At this point, an alert Macy's employee spotted the troublemakers and alerted mall security, who approached Downs and Son and insisted that they remove their shirts or leave the mall immediately, or else they would be arrested. Of course, they refused and Downs was arrested.

For wearing a shirt that promoted peace.

The Crossgates Mall is taking a big PR hit thought. Protesters are already descending on the mall. Google News is showing over 200 stories about this so far, and it's spreading across the web quickly.

Posted by rusty at March 5, 2003 01:03 PM | TrackBack
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