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This Week: Criminalizing Dissent?
This Week
February 27, 2004

This week on NOW:

Rubber bullets, pepper spray, tasers, and riot gear are all part of law enforcement's arsenal in dealing with large protests. But in an increasingly security-conscious America, is the government really taking aim at our civil liberties? At a trade conference in Miami last November, hundreds of protesters were detained, searched, and some seriously injured in violent clashes with police. While official Miami hailed the event as a model for "homeland security," others called it a preemptive strike on dissent and an assault on civil liberties. NOW takes a hard look at the protests and their aftermath to examine whether law enforcement was maintaining order or abusing power. As other cities turn to Miami for examples of how to police their major events, the segment asks, were they protecting the public at the expense of our civil liberties?

What do a frozen food kingpin and a community activist have in common? NOW travels to one of the most productive agricultural regions in America to take the pulse of two locals with deep ties to their struggling community, even though politically they are worlds apart. While Tulare County, California may not attract a lot of attention from the presidential contenders as they stump for votes in the biggest electoral prize in next Tuesday's primary, for local communities there's a lot at stake. From pollution and immigration, to poverty, crime, and rising energy costs, residents of Tulare have a lot riding on the outcomes of national policy debates. NOW's David Brancaccio talks to Kathy Garza who helped assemble a local planning committee to fight for community improvement and Fred Ruiz, chairman of the biggest maker of frozen Mexican food in the country, who was determined to keep his business in the community despite competitive pressure.

David Brancaccio sits down with conservative writer and WALL STREET JOURNAL editor Paul Gigot, to discuss the news beyond the headlines. With more than 20 years at the WSJ, Gigot won the Overseas Press Club award for his reporting on the Philippines as Asia Correspondent and the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his Washington column POTOMAC WATCH. Brancaccio and Gigot will discuss everything from the proposed gay marriage ban to the economy to the presidential elections.

In Depth

NAFTA, FTAA and the Free Trade Debate

Protest in America

Civil Liberties and National Security

Elephant and Donkey

Election 2004: Trade, Jobs and the Economy

Courting the Hispanic Vote

Wall Street

American Media Resources

Election 2004: Economy, Income and Inequality


Talk about free and fair trade on the message boards.


Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video

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Criminalizing Dissent? (14:52)

By the People: Harvesting Votes in California



Criminalizing Dissent?
Producer: Kathleen Hughes
Editor: Amanda Zinoman

Harvesting Votes
Producer: Betsy Rate
Correspondent: David Brancaccio
Editor: Alison Amron

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