“Restore the Fourth” rallies were held yesterday in three Iowa cities, but it wasn’t about the 4th of July. It was about the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the one about “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
The protesters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Des Moines object to U.S. government surveillance programs. Jonathan Trueblood, a 25-year-old doctoral student at the University of Iowa, says the significance of holding the rallies on the 4th of July should be clear to his fellow citizens.
“I hope that they can see the importance of or the relationship between celebrating their freedoms and protecting their freedoms,” Trueblood says.
The movement started about a month ago after Edward Snowden’s revelations about National Security Agency surveillance programs which monitor cell phone and email traffic. Trueblood, who helped organize the rally in Cedar Rapids, says Americans are losing too many freedoms and rights in the climate of fear that was spawned by the September 11th attacks.
“You know we are given these rights, but there’s no guarantee that they’re going to be protected,” Trueblood says.
Blair Wendt was among those who marched in Cedar Rapids.
“We definitely got some honks and some people cheering us on,” Wendt says. “I think we got some people’s attention.”
The “Restore the Fourth” movement has been fueled by on-line connections via Facebook and Reddit. A “Restore the Fourth” website promises more details about the movement’s future will be released online this Saturday. “Restore the Fourth” is asking congress to initiate an investigation to publicly reveal the extent of “domestic spying” and to pass changes in the Patriot Act that would forbid “blanket surveillance of internet activity and phone records.”
(Reporting in Cedar Rapids by Dave Franzman, KCRG-TV;’ additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)