Thursday, August 28, 2008

PROTESTING IN DENVER

Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait - The weather here is hot and dry and we're on the streets reminding each other to drink a lot, wear sunscreen, and rest. But the real heat has been from the police-state created here in response to political protest. New military-type troop transport vehicles which hold 12 cops in riot gear outside the vehicle so they can jump off; horse patrols, motorcycle and bike patrols constantly form up when they see "protesters." But, curiously, only when they are identifiably anti-war protesters. Yesterday, the Fred Phelps' anti-gay, woman-hating screamers (with a 6 foot tall sign saying "Homo Sex is a Threat to National Security") got a free pass to be in our permitted area, and when the young man who held the permit challenged them, and held a sign saying "Separation of Church & State," he was thrown to the ground and arrested. It's all . . . part of the pattern developing this week, undoubtedly to continue at the RNC in St. Paul. . .

Sunday evening we had a kind of magical, inspired gathering at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater. Highlights were Phil Aliff, a young Iraq veteran from Atlanta, who challenged us to keep resisting in the face of the Democrats capitulating on ending the war; Ron Kovic, who provided an emotional high by reading from Born on the 4th of July, his memoir; Jeremy Scahill, who took apart the Biden nomination; and Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Pam and Ramona Africa, and Tom Chelston, who created a new song for the evening called "The World Can't Wait". Sunsara Taylor brought the house to its feet with the line, "If you have more allegiance to the Democratic Party than to the interests of the people of the world, you have no business calling yourself an anti-war leader!" . . .

Monday was Human Rights Day. . . At the Federal Building, organizers allowed us to perform a waterboarding, for which we received a lot of press attention. The Fox News cameraman walked away muttering "that's about enough of that," and I said to him, yes, the world thinks so too. That's why we're doing it. Reactionary radio talk show host Laura Ingram's producers badgered me to be on her show this morning about torture, but when the connection didn't work, I could hear her on air joking about waterboarding. . . .

There was a mass arrest Monday night that our activists witnessed, with passersby caught by pepper spray, thrown to the ground, and detained for 90 minutes. Police have called out names of activist leaders, with threats, "we're going to get you." There are hard core reactionary anti-abortionists who verbally championed killing doctors, and shoved us, and Minutemen here to threaten immigrants. A real "democratic" scene.

The reception from the people has been largely warm, and every hour our literature table has been up, it's been mobbed with DNC delegates, Denver residents, and the press. I've done 60 interviews, and everyone with WCW orange on is stopped by press to talk. . .

One more note. The protests here were very small, at least until today, with at most 1200 marching on Sunday. I had long talks with reporters about why. Yes, the repression did scare people off. But mainly, I believe people have been systematically demobilized by both the Democratic Party and those anti-war leaders with more allegiance to them than to the people of the world. That makes those people who are here all the more precious.

1 Comments:

At August 29, 2008 12:57 AM, Blogger Samson said...

from a Denver resident ... 'the world can't wait' people have been fantastic all week long. Its been great having them in town. :)

 

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