Picasso on the beach

'Picture of innocence' defies Bush attack on Greenpeace

Feature story - January 18, 2004
Over a thousand people gathered this weekend on South Beach, Miami to create a massive 'human art' image in creative protest against the unprecedented prosecution of Greenpeace by the Bush Administration. Supporters of the international environmental organization gathered Saturday afternoon in support of the 'Endangered Forests, Endangered Freedom' campaign, replicating the 1950s Picasso work of art, of a dove flying past a jailed man.

Over a thousand supporters recreat Pablo Picasso's 'Amnistia' on South Beach in Miami, Florida, to protest Bush Administration attempts to silence Greenpeace.

The event, the largest of its scale to take place in the Miami area, comes as Greenpeace faces a serious federal indictment in South Florida, following a protest against the importation of illegal mahogany from the Brazilian Amazon in April 2002. Activists boarded the timber ship as part of our on-going campaign to save the world's ancient forests from destructive logging, work that continues despite the extraordinary prosecution.

The federal government has levelled charges under an obscure 1872 law originally intended to prevent "sailor-mongering"; a law only enacted twice since entering into force, most recently in 1890. The indictment has drawn criticism from many quarters -- from negative ink in the Washington Times to criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and Al Gore -- and accusations that the Bush administration seeks to silence us and our vocal criticisms of the administration's environmental policies.

"This is a chance for the people of Miami to show their support for Greenpeace, and to creatively protest the Bush administration's decision to silence its critics," said Ginger Cassady, Greenpeace campaigner in Miami. "The hundreds of people gathered here today represent the desire of people all across the world who are willing to take a stand for the world's forests and for the right of citizens and Greenpeace alike to peacefully protest," affirmed Cassady.

Picasso created the image as an appeal for amnesty for Spaniards who were persecuted under the Franco regime.

More information

View the slideshow of the making of the image.

More background (on the Greenpeace USA website).

New York Times: "Typical Greenpeace Protest Leads to Unusual Prosecution."

"The extraordinary effort made to find and use this obscure law strongly suggests a campaign of selective prosecution - the greatest scourge of the First Amendment."

--George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, special to the Los Angeles Times in Arbiter Online

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Tell the US Government to prosecute illegal loggers, not Greenpeace.

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