DAY FOUR: THURSDAY EDITION
THE BIG MARCH TO DNC
Last updated Thursday August 28, 6:08 a.m. MST
Previous DNC coverage: DAY THREE:WEDNESDAY - DAY TWO:TUESDAY - 500 Tijuana Bibles on the way to DNC and DAY ONE:MONDAY
We're in Denver for
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
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New for Thursday August 28 2008
Today's Tijuana Bible drop-off location:
We spent five hours on Wednesday walking with marchers. In that time, which included numerous pauses and halts, we handed out about fifty bibles. Location drop-offs are now suspended, though all accounts point to the bibles being a big success. Including, to our delight upon finding a copy, a xeroxed bootleg (presented on a single double-sided sheet) that seems to have begun circulation on its own. No telling how many of those are out there, but thanks to whomever did it and feel free to duplicate as much as you want.
If you have emailed about wanting to receive a copy of an authentic reproduction, yes, I'll work that in. Just give some age verification, 18+ and an address.
Once I'm home from all of this I'm going to rush into production on a novelty item called "DNC PROTESTER ROCKS" - The packaging will be an empty plastic bag. Varient editions will be called "DNC PROTESTER POISONS" (also empty) and "DNC POLICE PROBABLE CAUSE" (item will be perpetually out of stock.)
Earlier today I spoke with a person who was detained on Monday for the collision with cops. He was newly out of jail. The bond was set at five hundred dollars and his charges were numerous: Disturbance, Loitering, Throwing Rocks (see above) and my favorite one: Begging.
"Because you said please let me go?" I joked. He also has no memory of rocks, nor am I aware of any of the rocks allegedly thrown on Monday night being available now as evidence, video or otherwise. Anyway, this guy, appearing about 19 years old, was one of about a hundred detained. I thought you'd be interested in the charges. Just as a postscript to Monday's post.
Welcome to Denver, part four
THE BIG SUCCESSFUL MARCH
Good news. We have a big story to tell about today's large and very successful non-violent fifty block march from the Denver Coliseum to the Pepsi Center, home to the DNC. Estimates put the amount of participation at anywhere from 7500-10,000 - and my personal thought is it was at least about 4000 people. But the better point is that the cops acted perfectly, the crowd moved well and the day, full of sharp anti-war messages, felt good. But it wasn't without its continual anxiety of something going wrong and violent very quickly at any available moment. So that made for a lot of collectively clenched teeth for five hours, for many.
For a little play-by-play:
Today's action, as they call it, started with a concert at the Denver Coliseum, which is an old domed arena far north of downtown, right off of I-70. With having become accustomed this week with events located close to each other downtown, it was strange to realize how out of the way the Coliseum is. It's far northwest of everything, and seeminly unwalkable from downtown, or to downtown from there. The carrot on the string to this starting point was a sort of five-flavored oatmeal pack of political activist music, including one of my all-time favorites The Coup, and one I'll keep my opinion to myself about: Rage Against the Machine.
Ah but how can you miss making a few jokes about Rage Against the Machine. The whole band fell to shit, in my opinion, once Che Guevara left to do his solo albums. Their song about receiving a medium-well hamburger when they specifically asked for medium-rare, however, that's a fucking classic - encapsulating everything I angrily feel about that subject, and I thank them for it.
Anyway they were playing for free (commendable) along with five other bands, starting at 11am and scheduled to end at 3:15. At that time everyone in the Coliseum was invited to walk in a march, scheduled by Iraq Veterans of the War. I arrived outside around 2 p.m., deciding to wait outside in the parking lot with others. About fifty people or so were outside, each looking like they were anticipating something, themselves, too. Inside raged the Rage.
The cops started showing up in mass around 2:45. I found them on my own when I walked past the Interstate to a nearby 7-11 to use the restroom and get a water. This led me to the quiet underpass full of riot police. I want to mention here that they were considerably friendly, eye contact and knods - and just looked like they were working on the clock. Whatever happened on Monday seemed to pop the boil. Or at least I hoped. I returned to the Coliseum with a water just before the march was to begin. And it looked like about 500 people were out there, ready to go for it.
But first, a man walking around with a megaphone delivered the opening sermon:
"YOU CAN BE CURED. MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS HERE TO HELP YOU. MEDICAL MARIJUANA WILL SAVE LIVES. IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE SOMEDAY. IT SAVED MY LIFE. YOU CAN BE CURED. MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS HERE TO HELP YOU. MEDICAL MARIJUANA WILL SAVE LIVES. IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE SOMEDAY. IT SAVED MY.."
Next, from a different megaphone, came some probably very important instructions from the march coordinator that I couldn't hear and BANG, five hundred people suddenly start walking with a brisk clip from the coliseum towards downtown.
But the march soon stops. Orders to stay on one side of the double-yellow traffic line, and to halt at the upcoming street corner. There, the following is declared:
"OKAY! EVERYONE. The Iraqi veterans are willing to risk arrest by walking to the Pepsi Center to PRESENT THEIR QUESTIONS TO BARACK OBAMA. If you are willing to RISK ARREST. Please head up to the front of the group - and BE SURE to get this phone number, which will be legal assistance. We're going to repeat this number."
People anxiously begin to write the phone number on their arms and stomach, but few take the opportunity to move to the front of the pack. The message circulates back to another announcer:
"THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE and ANYONE AGAINST THE WAR WILLING TO GO TO JAIL FOR THEIR BELIEFS - WE WANT YOU UP FRONT. Now... Getting arrested MEANS A COUPLE OF THINGS. YOU WILL be DETAINED, and HAVE YOUR ITEMS LOOKED THROUGH. SO DO NOT MARCH WITH ANYTHING ILLEGAL."
Another announcer now behind me repeats the same information. The legal phone number is repeated, water and sunscreen is circulated, and the long march downtown begins southbound on Brighton Blvd.
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