DAY THREE: WEDNESDAY EDITION
THE SUDDENLY FRIENDLY POLICE
Last updated Wednesday August 27, 1:03 a.m. MST
Previous DNC coverage: DAY TWO:TUESDAY - 500 Tijuana Bibles on the way to DNC and DAY ONE:MONDAY
We're in Denver for
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
WELCOME TO EP.TC
DRUG COMICS - GOVERNMENT COMICS - OTHER INTERESTS
New for Tuesday August 26 2008
Today's Tijuana Bible drop-off location:
Like everyone I'm a bit drained today from last night, so: Five copies left by the other political posters in Civic Center Park - better locations tomorrow.
Meanwhile, many copies have made their way into the hands of delegates, campaign workers, volunteers, other individuals. And if you emailed about not being in town and wanting to receive a copy, yes, I'll work that in. Just give some age verification, 18+ and an address.
Welcome to Denver, part three
special collective hangover edition
Today, downtown Denver, although a little fuzzy, felt like it should have felt from day one. Namely, the cops looked like police officers (no helmets) and were repositioned to the perimeter of activity as observers, instead of combing through the crowds as antagonizers. And there weren't many riot police to be found. Militarized police did continue to patrol through the town on hummer-like vehicles with five riot police on the outside of each side of the truck - but even with rifles outstretched, this seemed reasonable. There was a large mass of cops out everywhere in the morning, but they soon disappeared after doing security checks. This, too, felt reasonable.
How did things get so damned reasonable?
The obvious answer is that someone must have finally gotten their head chewed off and tossed in a bucket for the very public offenses of the last two days. And in even more reasonable fashion the number of actual cops out today is a MUCH lower number; around a fifth or even an eighth of what had been there before. The number of protesters has thinned considerably too. (Of course a couple might still be detained or too beat-up) But today felt identical to a 'Sober Sunday' after a heavy two-day bender. And Denver, the unintentionally abusive drunk is doing its best to visually put away the riot suit and pucker up its best face.
There were a couple press conferences today: News item: Weakened protest groups say truce with cops is over
leaders say police provoked a panic in the crowd gathered in Civic Center Park Monday night by parading officers in full riot gear through people gathered in small groups.
This is something I meant to address yesterday, but lost out due to space. The action that led so many people out into the street last night began as a provocation started by the police. I was shocked when I first saw it, because it made everything so fucking tense. Hours before anything happened last night, in the area where people were eating, riot cops started to do group-sized weaving through the crowds. Think similar to the centipede video game, with protesters being the mushrooms. In a very hostile way, cops walked right past everyone, doing a mambo line weave with rifles. If you were sitting on the grass, and many were, your eyeview would be at the level of a billyclub, crotch, plastic handcuffs, and a rifle. This repeated about six or seven times. I left briefly to meet a friend (see yesterday's post) but it was no surprise to me that, twenty minutes later, the protesters left for the street. Can you imagine trying to be calm around forty giant guns nearly tapping you in the head while you're laying on the grass. This is crowd control? There was no excuse for it. In an anxious heavy-handed effort to 'own the situation', the cops willed the collision to occur, almost by request.
But we all know by now how that ended up.
So anyway, putting away those dirty dishes, and back to describing the peaceful atmosphere today. MAN, even the color in the sky is different and easy today. Buildings that were once lined with cops are now empty except for one or two, idly chatting - that kind of easy. Open Space For Skipping EASY. Sitar Music Easy. 'nothing to worry about' easy - Very calm. Thank god for it, too. Ike and Tina had their quiet days, and today is a pretty good one for cops and protesters. Of course that's helped by the numbers of each group being much lower - and an almost certain reprimand towards Denver police from someone/somewhere, either internal or external. They're acting very different.
But this might also be the worrisome quiet before the storm bullshit - there's a dreaded critical mass planned tomorrow (always a tinderbox) and the following day is the big test for everyone's anxiety with Mr Obama. Shit I don't even want to think about either of those things. So let's just put on some Cat Stevens and relax to the EASY sounds of today.
Here are the highlights of the afternoon:
BEST POLITICAL JUXTAPOSITION: POLTICAL PUPPET THEATER ATTACKED BY THE ANTI-FAGS
This charmed me to no end. A puppet parade, that went without incident from police, was heckled abusively by anti-homosexual protesters, yelling very rude things about how genocide of gays would be great. But to puppets! One of the people screaming loudest had a 'proud parent' bracelet on and I approached the opportunity for an interview by asking, "What's an anti-faggot heterosexual father like yourself have against the puppet lifestyle?" He told me to fuck myself, and I avoided the obvious pun that to fuck myself would mean..
The antigays somehow drained the lifeforce of my camera battery so I'm forced to google for an image of the group. Here's some nohomo "HOMO-SEX" protest from yesterday on 16th St Mall, courtesty newsvine This isn't the puppet assault, rather it's anti-gay action from yesterday:
the NOHOMOS, previously (image via)
But can look at these puppets and call them faggots? NO YOU CAN'T. Just look at the puppets!
It was actually theme day for protesters. A spirited group of Iraqi veterans took to the streets for a march - this also completely without incident from the now happy and accomodating cops. "Walk down the street? Sure, this way...!" And I missed out on another moment with marchers, who apparently interrupted and overtook a news conference. That one sounded almost as good as the puppet conflict. But I talked with a pleasantly stoned guy about it, and he beamed "cops have been surprisingly cool, actually"
This was really sober city today, atmosphere-wise. Everyone was much looser and you could actually feel a festival feeling to things, less psychotic control. There was even dancing. And why not, these are hopeful times. I'm hopeful it maintains.
More tomorrow - Thanks, Ethan
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