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Crowds Protest Patriot Act During Ashcroft's Visit


Before John Ashcroft spoke to law enforcement officials Thursday, he was greeted outside by a large group of protestors. And they were not shy about showing him their opposition to the Patriot Act. WAVE 3's Shannon Davidson reports.

As the United States Attorney General pulled up to the Louisville International Conventional Center, protestors shouted out, exercising their civil rights to challenge the Patriot Act and the idea that law enforcement may obtain information about citizens without their knowledge.

Clare Gervasi says she finds "rather disturbing that John Ashcroft is touting a bill that's supposed to protect us, and yet, we're not allowed to know anything about it."

Ashcroft and the FBI say the power that comes with the Patriot Act is rarely used, but critics say, if that power is used just once, that's one time too many.

Jeroma Lomonaco doesn't like the idea of federal agents monitoring his reading habits. "If you read something that is contrary to popular belief, it does not mean you hold that particular belief, it just means that you want to be informed."

While Ashcroft asks for "public confidence in law enforcement," the drums of protest beat on. "The fact that the government has the freedom, without a court order, to come into our privacy, to monitor our e-mails, without a court order, or any kind of accountability, is an outrage to our civil liberties."

Some libraries across the country are already posting signs warning patrons of the anti-terror law.

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