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(en) US, Boston, Media, The Bl(A)ck Tea Society Support for Locals Piques Police

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 26 Jul 2004 14:33:31 +0200 (CEST)

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The activist Bl(a)ck Tea Society says it simply wanted to make a
gesture of support for local businesses during the convention.
But to the Boston police, it may have appeared more sinister.
The society, which has an anticorporate bent, printed about
250 signs to hand out to business owners. The signs
proclaimed that the restaurants and shops are "locally
owned," and they carried the Bl(a)ck Tea Society's name.
Carmine Federico, co-owner of Osteria Rustico, an 18-seat
restaurant on Canal Street near the FleetCenter, accepted
the sign from two 20-somethings last Saturday. Later,
Federico got a visit from Boston police detectives, he said.
They asked if he'd been extorted or threatened by the people
who gave him the signs and also what they looked like.

Boston police spokeswoman Beverly Ford said police were only
questioning business owners as part of "routine
precautionary measures you would take for any big event."

But a State Police official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said authorities were investigating whether
anarchists were extorting money from business owners with
the message, "If you donate, we won't trash your place," the
source said.

Federico said he wasn't threatened at all, or charged for
the signs. Frank Little, a Bl(a)ck Tea Society member, said
the idea was to tell out-of-towners, "If they have a yellow
sign, you don't have to worry that you're supporting a
corporate chain."

For his part, Federico decided to print up his own signs
with the sentiment -- "This is a locally owned shop. Support
the local community!" -- but without the Bl(a)ck Tea Society
logo. He didn't want to risk alienating any group.
The Bl(A)ck Tea Society is an ad-hoc coalition of
anti-authoritarians organizing in the Boston area
and beyond to resist the Democratic National Convention.

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