Angry Internet users protest in hundreds of cities at Verizon stores and Congressional offices in all 50 states today
Self-organized Internet users are gathering at Verizon stores and Congressional offices in more than 700 cities throughout the day today demanding that Congress take action to #StopTheFCC vote planned on December 14 to gut net neutrality protections. Dozens of protests have already happened while many more are planned for this evening. The protests are part of growing backlash to the FCC’s plan from across the political spectrum, which has generated more than 800,000 phone calls to lawmakers through the site BattleForTheNet.com alone.
See PHOTOS from the protests available for use by press:
See a short video here: https://twitter.com/fightfortheftr/status/938900569485447168
(This link will be updated with more photos as they come in. Most of the largest protests are expected to happen at 5pm local time.)
On the heels of today’s ground protests, net neutrality supporters are calling on Internet users, websites, apps, and small businesses to participate in "Break the Internet," an online protest starting 48 hours before the FCC’s scheduled vote, where sites, apps, and social media feeds will appear creatively "broken" as they might be without net neutrality protections, with messages driving phone calls to Congress. Twitter users will "break" their feeds by using a #BreakTheInternet tool that will auto-tweet about net neutrality every 10 minutes starting on December 12 until the FCC votes.
The protests today are supported by Team Internet, a grassroots network of nearly half a million volunteer activists spearheaded by Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund. The groups allowed volunteers to "host" protests and added them to a map, using text messaging and email to help local hosts recruit participants in their area.
Protesters are demanding that their members of Congress publicly call on the FCC to cancel their vote on December 14. The FCC’s plan contains an unprecedented and total repeal of net neutrality protections, posing a grave threat to the future of freedom of expression, access to information, and small businesses particularly for communities of color and low income communities.
Over recent months the groups behind the protests have organized thousands of constituents to attend more than 600 town halls and meetings with lawmakers to demand their support for net neutrality.
"Today’s protests show how passionately Americans care about net neutrality, and how fed up they are with lawmakers siding with giant telecoms over ordinary people," said Mark Stanley, Director of Communications for Demand Progress. "With a catastrophic vote to repeal open internet protections just a week away, people across all 50 states are taking to the streets and urging lawmakers to oppose FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to end net neutrality."
"This is a watershed moment in our nation’s history. Internet users from across the political spectrum are outraged, and they’re coming out of the woodwork to demand that their elected officials do their jobs and stop the FCC from voting to kill net neutrality," said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, "The Internet has given ordinary people more power than they’ve ever had before, and what we are seeing today is that people are willing to fight to defend that power."
"The fate of the internet won’t be decided by a few corrupt bureaucrats and phone company lobbyists in Washington," said Free Press Action Fund Field Director Mary Alice Crim. "That’s the message people across the country are sending today to Chairman Pai: Our rights to connect and communicate online must come before the greed of Verizon executives. These protests prove beyond any doubt that people everywhere won’t let Pai and his cronies have the last word on Net Neutrality."