Bostonians will face airport security-style measures if they wish to attend the city's major annual July 4 event, with virtually all personal items being banned along with mandatory checkpoints, snitch hotlines and bag searches, begging the question — what "freedoms" are they supposed to be celebrating?
After 4PM, revelers attending the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular at the Charles River Esplanade will be banned from bringing in any personal items whatsoever besides chairs, tarps, and blankets. Before that time mandatory bag searches at several checkpoints will take place and items including coolers with wheels, pre-mixed beverages, glass containers, any sharp objects and liquid containers over two liters will be confiscated. Attendees will also be forced to pass through metal detectors.
"They will not be allowed to grill, and all blankets, tents, and other items must be carried in see-through bags. Boaters on the Charles will have to stay 100 feet from shore and 1,000 feet from the fireworks barge; docks between the Massachusetts Avenue and Longfellow bridges will be closed; and any vessel in the waters off the Esplanade will not be allowed to move after 7 p.m., including kayaks, dinghies, and other small craft,"reports the Boston Globe.
National Guard troops will also on patrol, giving the event a martial law feel, and authorities have also worked with the Department of Homeland Security to set up a dedicated snitch line where citizens can report "suspicious activity". Fireworks sellers across the country have also been told tokeep an eye out for buyers who "raise suspicion" by making suspicious political comments.
The security measures, introduced in the wake of April's Marathon bombings, are so stifling that some who planned to attend the party have given up on July 4 altogether.
Bostonian Debra Glidden labeled the measures "outrageous," telling the Globe, "If we can't bring backpacks, it's just not worth the hassle, I'd need a large bag to carry sweatshirts, drinks, snacks, sunscreen, cellphones, etc. I can't imagine what someone with a child in diapers would do."
Steve Cimbrelo has attended the Esplanade celebrations since he was a child but won't be in attendance this year.
"They're going overboard with security, I don't know how you can go there for 12 hours bringing next to nothing," said Cimbrelo, adding that the rules were "an ironic way to celebrate our independence." …