DNC Report from the street 5
by Daphne Webb
I’m exhausted today. I was going to get downtown by 9 this morning, but since I spent 4 hours witnessing the detaining of 200 protesters and ended up caught in a run because someone thought tear gas was coming, I just can’t get there and I have a booth at a delegate party tomorrow. Weird. I was sent a terrific description of what happened last night so I’m going to cut and paste that here: (P.S. I was in the park ½ hour before the storm troopers moved in but I saw them and just somehow knew it wasn’t like the day before.) I’m glad I got out. I’m not sure if my pictures are any good either. Peace - not facsim!
Those are mounted police at 9:00 pm.
When we went downtown after working the Recreate 68 table for a few hours, we found that the mall was packed with people. I’ve never seen such a bustle in Denver before. We got to sit at outside at a restaurant for an hour to people watch. Madness. The one thing that’s become very interesting about this experience is that everyone here has something in common to talk about. People are talking to anyone around them about what’s going on. I met a girl on my way to find my friends who just wanted someone to walk around with. She was looking for a party to go to. She wanted Obama Buttons for her nephew. So, I find my friends, good bye to my new friend.
On our way back to the park, the cops created a barracade so nobody could cross the street (I think it was Arapahoe). Please know that there always the cops, I’m not just obssesed with them, they are literally everywhere and in packs all the time.) (Rumors: Motorcade or Anarchists were on the way) We were held on the mall with hundreds of other people just standing there with 80 or so robo-cops in riot gear pumping up their rubber bullet guns. We noticed they had big tear gas cans - at least a foot long hanging off their belts and the endless blue plastic hand-cuffs. This wasn’t a rally, this was on the 16th street mall with revelers and democrats wandering around town looking for something to do. Waves of cops walked by. We heard them barking orders and they would all simutaneously do something, like put gas masks on for example. All of a sudden the DNC isn’t fun anymore. Everywhere you go, official convention or not, we’re all treated like criminals and terrorists. This town is practically under marshall law. For all intensive purposes, it is. Lockdown. I’m starting to hate it. I’m starting to wonder what the hell they are so afraid of from the people. This is ridiculous, over-reaction from hell. I hope Mayor Hickelooper is somehow getting this blog. Maybe I’ll send it to him. The phone number for the Mayor and the Governor are below, if you have a reaction to this facist police state, let them know.
Here’s what happend last night while lovely Michelle and her beautiful daughters were telling their story at the fancy airconditioned podium. I thought Teddy K looked great; didn’t you? I was glad he could be here.
For photos and more information, see:
[Denver, CO] - Glenn Spagnuolo, one of the main organizers of Recreate68,
was interviewed on Peter Boyles on KHOW radio Tuesday morning about the
pepper bullet incident on Monday. You can listen to the full interviews
Glenn said that the incident last night started around 5:30pm, when
heavily-armed police in SWAT gear began making random sweeps through Civic
Center Park, harassing people sitting in the grass by poking them with
nightsticks and telling them to get up and leave. Glenn complained several
times to the protester’s police liaison, and the police would stop the
harassment, just to start it again a few minutes later. He said that
happened about 4 or 5 times. Glenn said some of the kids in the park became
annoyed and formed a circle and started chanting “No Justice, No Peace” and
put bandanas on their faces. He said that the police got worked up and came
in pretty heavy and opened up with pepper spray and pepper bullets into the
crowd without warning. The police chased the crowd through the park
towards 15th and Cleveland, where there was another line of police waiting
to surround the people running from the police and prevent them from
leaving. Glenn says the police surrounded the crowd, which included
frightened and crying children, and began pushing them back and crushing
the crowd together. He said they were detained for well over an hour.
With their heavy-handed tactics and lack of warning to the crowds, the
police clearly were trying to provoke violence from the crowd. There had
been over 2 days of peaceful protests up until this incident. Instead of
trying to arrest the trouble-makers without endangering others, the police
chose to react by firing pepper bullet guns, pepper spray and tear gas into
groups of innocent bystanders without warning and rounding up crowds of
innocent people and detaining them for over an hour.
In other incidents of police harassment, Cindy Sheehan, an antiwar activist
running for office against Nancy Pelosi, returned to her hotel room in
Denver yesterday to find a man trying to plant a bug in her telephone.
According to Glenn Spagnuolo, the police had been stopping and searching
the cars of Recreate68 and Unconventional Action activists near their
convergence center north of downtown.
Another report on colorado.indymedia.org states that 5 members of the
Solidarity Radical Library and Revolutionary Center from Lawrence, Kansas
were arrested Monday in Denver without any reason.
Other activists reported heavy intimidation and harassment by roving gangs
of heavily-armed law enforcement officers in the Civic Center Park Festival
of Democracy and elsewhere in Denver.
Please call the officials below and tell them to stop the harassment of
antiwar activists by police. Forward this announcement to your friends. We
need to let the city of Denver know that the “The Whole World is Watching!”
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper
Phone: 720-865-9000 (Denver 311)
Ask for the Mayor’s Office
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter
Phone: (303) 866-2471
They say it’s the Mayor’s responsibility, not theirs, but they still need
to feel the heat.