Protests in more than 100 locations across the U.S. are scheduled July 4 by an organization called Restore the Fourth, named for the Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure. The anti-NSA surveillance rallies are schedule to take place in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, D.C. and dozens of other states.
Ryan Brown, the regional organizer for the San Francisco Bay protest, said that he became interested in Restore the Fourth after learning of the NSA PRISM program.
"I see it as ethically disgusting that the government has both the opportunity and the ability … to collect the data on us individually, without a given reason other than quote-unquote 'protecting our freedoms'," Brown said.
Protestors allegedly gathered for meetings on the Restore the Fourth section of Reddit, which has nearly 20,000 subscribers, and organizers set up a website as well. On Reddit it appears there was even a small Restore the Fourth gathering in Munich, where protesters held masks with Edward Snowden's face over their own.
“Reddit didn’t take well to all the information about the news leak as far as NSA goes,” says Michael Reed, Restore the Fourth’s director of communications. “So we started organizing there, and the next thing you know, we’re organizing in over 100 cities and it’s only getting bigger.”
"One criticism we've gotten about the date is that we'd be 'competing' with the celebrations," spokesperson Douglas MacArthur noted in the Ask Me Anything portion of Reddit. "But we aren't competing with them. We are integrated with them. The Fourth of July is already about what we're protesting. What better time to fight for your rights or inform others of the need to than when you're already celebrating the ones you have?"
Reed expects as many as 20,000 supporters to participate in the rallies, the largest of which will take place in Washington D.C.
While the website says Restore the Fourth is a non-partisan movement, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., released a video last week on YouTube thanking the group for “defending the bill of rights” and giving his support. Paul was invited to speak at the D.C. rally, but said he was unable to attend.