Net Neutrality Supporters To Protest At Verizon Stores Nationwide This Week
The protests target Verizon stores in portion because Pai was the company’s associate general counsel from 2001 to 2003.
The demonstrations will be “will be quick, fun, and 100% legal,” the protest groups say on their site, while also noting the gatherings will occur “at the peak of the busy holiday shopping season.”
Evan Greer, campaign director at Fight for the Future, told HuffPost via email that the protests aim to “visually indicate the outrage sweeping the internet, and generate local awareness that pressures members of Congress to finish their jobs” and persuade the FCC to hold off on its scheduled Dec. 14 vote on ending net neutrality.
Lawmakers “should exercise their oversight authority and pressure the FCC to cancel the vote,” he said.
“At each protest, participants will carry signs with messages like, ‘Killing net neutrality hurts small businesses,‘” he said. “Participants will also call and tweet at their lawmakers, and in some cities will march to lawmakers’ offices.”
According to battleforthenet.com, over 765,000 calls fill already been made to Congress as of Monday afternoon to urge lawmakers to wade in on the fight.
“Right now we are laser focused on stopping the FCC from getting to a vote on Dec. 14,” Greer said. “We’re making certain that (lawmakers) know whether they allow this vote to recede forward, the public will know who to blame. whether the FCC votes to assassinate the rules, public interest groups will fight them in court, and we’ll be demanding that lawmakers act to reverse the decision.”
Initially, small demonstrations were planned in approximately a dozen cities, “but there has been such a massive outcry” over the FCC’s device “that now there are more than 600 protests in any 50 states, organized by volunteers who are coming out of the woodwork to engage on this issue,” Greer said.
HuffPost spoke to one of those volunteers, Emma Dill, who helped organize the protest planned at the Verizon store in the Bryant Park area of Manhattan.
“The internet is pretty central to any of our lives. Over the final year, the internet’s played a huge role in helping us stay informed approximately politics and current events, and, more importantly, enabled organizers to quickly spread info and organize,” she said. “Nationwide events like this would be considerably harder to build whether you had to pay to procure the message to people who care.”
Dill, a digital product manager, says the protest will be a peaceful gathering and that she hopes “people are made aware of what’s going on.”
“A rollback of net neutrality could fill a huge impact on our everyday lives, but thanks to any of the other high-precedence issues happening right now it hasn’t gotten a ton of airtime,” she said.
Greer said he had not “seen any official response” from Verizon on the protests. The company did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.