LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A local group is celebrating Independence Day by protesting.
Activists were gathered in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles for the so-called Restore the Fourth protest, demanding the government put a stop to what they say are intrusive surveillance programs spearheaded by the NSA.
“The government is going directly against the values and the freedoms that we are supposed to stand for,” protester Justin Newton said.
Speakers read the Declaration of Independence and the Fourth Amendment.
The crowd crossed the political spectrum, including self-proclaimed libertarians and socialists, unified by revelations made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the agency is monitoring phone calls and e-mails of Americans without warrants.
“I worked for an internet provider. I have actually fulfilled the subpoenas to look into people who have questionable activity and that system worked. It always worked. When you ask for data and you do it with a legal warrant, it is given to you,” protester Dawn Newton said.
The NSA and the Obama administration have said Snowden’s disclosures were exaggerated and over-hyped, and the program, which is part of counter-terrorism efforts, does not violate the Fourth Amendment protection against invasion of privacy.
A UCLA law student said the public shouldn’t take their word for it.
“I want it reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States. I want it reviewed by the judiciary. Because that’s the sort of meaningful oversight that was intended by the Fourth Amendment requiring warrants,” the man said.
Until that happens, protestors said to expect more signs and rallies in Los Angeles and around the nation.