WASHINGTON, July 4, 2013 (AFP) – Thousands of activists across the United States took to the streets and the Internet to mark July 4 with protests against the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs on Thursday.
The protests, organized by the “Restore the Fourth” movement, were intended to raise “awareness of and spur political action against unconstitutional spying by the US government,” organizers said.
The NSA’s surveillance methods have been in the spotlight ever since former contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of agency programs to collect Internet and phone data.
The Restore the Fourth campaign, organized via the social network Reddit, has received support from various web platforms including Mozilla and campaigners for online freedom such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Its name refers to the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects against unlawful searches and seizures.
Scattered small-scale protests took place in cities across the United States on Thursday, including Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
Around 200-300 people gathered in a square near the White House in Washington, DC, some brandishing placards reading “Don’t steal my rights to privacy!”
“These programs are wrong, far too sweeping, dangerous, it matters that we not let this kind of thing go unopposed,” protestor Thomas Nephew told AFP.
“The Fourth of July is about more than having fun, it’s about thinking about the risks people took to ensure their freedoms two hundred and something years ago, and that what we are doing again now.”