Video: Veterans arrested at Vietnam War memorial in NYC

Thankfully, the Atlantic covered this story, because no one else seems interested despite it taking place in America’s most populous city.  In part, that’s because the same thing happened last year, and for the same reason — a curfew violation in, er, “the city that never sleeps.” It’s unrelated to the shutdown, but it’s still strange that the Times, Post, and Daily News didn’t bother to note it in some fashion today:

Veterans of the Vietnam War were arrested earlier tonight at the New York City memorial after staying on the premises past the curfew time of 10 p.m. Police gave multiple warnings as veterans continued to read from a list of names. Video from the event shows that not only veterans were loaded into the paddy wagon, but also younger participants in the vigil as well.

The gathering took place in part to protest the twelfth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. A similar protest and set of arrests occurred last year at the memorial. In the video embedded below, a veteran tells police that they are there to bring awareness to the “immense atrocities” committed in Vietnam, and that “some of you are so much younger, and history has been denied you, so you just need to know why we are here.”

The video shows the standoff with police shortly before the arrests were made at the anti-war protest:

A search of all US newspapers and wire services today on Nexis for arrest Vietnam War memorial turns up exactly one article — a column in the South Jersey Times criticizing the National Parks Service and the shutdown tactics in general. This story doesn’t involve the shutdown, but it’s still intriguing from a media-coverage standpoint.  During the Bush administration, anti-war protests like this garnered a lot of attention from local and national media. Odd that media interest has declined in the last few years, no?

It’s also interesting from a First Amendment standpoint. Why is there a 10 pm curfew on freely-accessible public property in a city that stays open all night long? That question does relate to the recent malicious National Park Service actions, too.  Regardless of the intent of the protest, this kind of overreaction by the government should get more attention than it received today.

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