NSA spying: Americans protest near Capitol Hill post Merkel row
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Washington: Under fire from foreign allies after fresh revelations of the National Security Agency spying on them, the US is now facing protests at home as well with thousands of Americans marching near the Capitol Hill in Washington in protest of the nation’s clandestine surveillance programme.
Amid the increased furore created by fresh revelations that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone must have been spied upon since 2002 as reported by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, the US is now under mounting pressure from its allies who are seeking an explanation for the spying revelations.
The German spy chiefs are set to visit US next week to demand clarifications from the US intelligence over spying claims on Merkel`s mobile phone.
Expressing support for the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, protesters in thousands converged on Capitol Hill with banners that read "Thank you, Edward Snowden", “Stop Watching US”, “Stop Mass Spying”, ”Spying is censorship”.
The protest is being sponsored by a group known as “Stop Watching Us” which is an umbrella group of over a hundred public advocacy groups and it demands the Patriot Act to be reformed.
The Patriot Act was passed in 2001 with an aim to provide legality for undercover spying operations in a bid to thwart terror attacks.
The protest rally coincided with the 12th anniversary of the Patriot Act, which according to the demands of the “Stop Watching US” must be repealed now.
The rally also saw the presence of Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian reporter who exposed the details of NSA surveillance as leaked by Edward Snowden.
Other than Merkel, it has been revealed that he US eavesdropped on 35 national leaders, according to a document released by Edward Snowden.
Recently, the US was ubder fire from Mexico and France over reports that it spied on millions of phone calls there.
The issue was also brought up in the EU summit in Brussels where Merkel made it clear that “spying among friends is not at all acceptable”.
"We need to have trust in our allies and partners, and this must now be established once again. I repeat that spying among friends is not at all acceptable against anyone, and that goes for every citizen in Germany," she said.
She had called up Obama on Wednesday seeking answers on the spying claims.
The White House in a statement had assured Merkel that the US is not and will not monitor her phone calls.
Reacting to Merkels’ objections, Obama had reportedly said that he had no clue that Merkel’s communications were being spied upon and he would have ordered the process to stop had he been in the know of it.
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