Civic News

Hundreds rally outside Verizon store for Net Neutrality protest

“L-O-L! O-M-G! We want Net Neutrality!” the crowd chanted.

Verizon workers on the Lower East Side. (Photo by Flickr user Steve Rhodes, used under a Creative Commons license)

A couple hundred activists rallied outside a Verizon store Thursday night to protest against the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming rollback of Net Neutrality protections.

Advocates say the reversal, announced last month by FCC chair Ajit Pai and expected to go down at the agency’s Dec. 14 meeting, will gut the essence of the open web and allow internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast and Verizon to potentially block access to, or favor, certain types of content.

Bryan Mercer, the executive director of advocacy group Media Mobilizing Project, told us last month the rollback would deepen the digital divide.

“We urgently need a free and open internet to get our voices out past the big companies who want only to profit from our human right to communicate,” Mercer said.

The protest, led by MMP, was part of national string of protests at Verizon stores organized by nonprofit Fight for the Future. Next week, when the decision is expected to be approved, MMP will charter a bus to D.C. to join a protest called Net Neutrality Wake Up Call.

Here’s a livestream of the Philly protest, emceed by MMC policy director Hannah Sassaman:

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