'Free Speech Zones,' aka 'Freedom Cages,' at the DNC


My first assignment at the DNC was to find a designated "free speech zone" aka a "freedom cage." Apparently, there are several around the Pepsi Center. This one is near the corner of 7th St. and Auraria Pkwy, in sight of an amusement park.


The cage is just a parking lot in the baking sun, surrounded by a fine-gauge metal fence.


Street protests are forbidden outside these zones. Every effort has been made to isolate the areas from public view. DNC organizers made a big deal out of the fact that protesters would be allowed to use the parade route.


A "parade route" sounds public, maybe even prominent. In fact, the march takes place inside a semi-opaque corridor of cyclone fencing. Where the cyclone gauge is wide enough to see through, the fencers added green mesh to block out the light. On one side of the corridor is the University of Colorado, which is closed to the public today. On the other side is the security zone around the Pepsi Center.


I followed a Falun Gong marching band through the corridor in the mid-day sun. Between the altitude and the heat, nobody was feeling very well by the time we arrived at the cage.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close