Three people were forcibly removed from a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) meeting Thursday for vocally advocating for net neutrality, speaking over FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler‘s proposed compromise.
Wheeler began the process of formally announcing his proposal for FCC rule changes on Thursday, a precursor to a vote on his rules followed by 120 days of public comment. The big concern is how much his proposal will protect net neutrality, as opposed to allowing a path for Internet providers to eventually charge more to access certain sites at full speed.
To that end, activists have spent the past week camping outside the FCC building in Washington. They even met with Wheeler on Wednesday, and stressed their desire for net neutrality to be fully enshrined by declaring the Internet a public utility, like water or electricity.
To make sure he got the message, three activists spoke out during the meeting. In turn, each of them—Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers of the activist group Popular Resistance, and Kevin Ashe of Veterans for Peace—stood up, began advocating for reclassification, and were forcibly escorted out, according to eyewitness Kevin Huang, a member of the activist group Fight For the Future. As one would be escorted out, Huang said, another would begin speaking, and was then removed in turn.
Huang even managed a blurry photo:
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) May 15, 2014
Wheeler did, for his part, openly state his support for the ideal net neutrality when he began to speech, and even shouted out those protesters who camped out.
The FCC ultimately voted 3-2 to adopt the proposed net neutrality rules, thus beginning the period of public comment before a final decision is made.
Photo via Kevin Huang/Fight For the Future | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III