Don’t let anyone tell you that fighting for net neutrality isn’t a contact sport.
Two Internet freedom activists were reportedly tackled to the ground Tuesday as they interrupted a press conference held by Ajit Pai, one of the five voting commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission. Pai is one of two commissioners who opposes FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to save net neutrality by reclassifying the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act.
The activists came from Popular Resistance, a group that has no qualms about getting in the government’s face. Popular Resistance members previously protested at Wheeler’s home, and they recently livened up C-SPAN by storming a congressional hearing on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Pai’s press conference was live-streamed, although not heavily watched. Multiple sources who watched the livestream noted that the two activists were quickly and aggressively escorted out by security. The activists held a banner that read, “85% of Republican voters support net neutrality,” a reference to the findings of a Nov. 2014 poll.
Despite the interests of their constituents, congressional Republicans are spearheading a campaign to stop the FCC’s Title II reclassification, incorrectly claiming that it is somehow akin to National Security Agency surveillance.
A spokesperson for Pai’s office would not comment on the exact nature of the protesters’ violent removal but did say that “they stood up and started screaming” and “you’re certainly not allowed to do that.”