No letup in police intimidation as Vets, immigrants protest at DNC
Posted by raleighfist on September 9, 2008
By Larry Hales
During the five days of protests against the Democratic National Convention held here at the Pepsi Center, the media and the local Denver government grew fond of pointing out that the tens of thousands expected by organizers with Recreate 68 did not show up.
Photos: Dante Strobino
However, during the week the city of Denver did not appear to relinquish any of the cops it had garnered to prepare for tens of thousands of protesters. And in fact, thousands did protest during the week and the last few days showed no letup in numbers or spirit.
On Aug. 27, thousands marched in support of Iraq Veterans Against the War. The march covered four miles, from the Denver Coliseum to the Pepsi Center. There was no permit to march, but the route was negotiated with the police by IVAW.
IVAW had gone out of its way to work with the cops and applaud their efforts, even though cops had intimidated protesters throughout the week and had rioted on Monday, attacking and arresting protesters and other people just walking from work or shopping. Hundreds were entrapped and assaulted after cops chased protesters out of Civic Center Park, though a permit had been granted for use of the park.
Tuesday showed no letup as cops launched brutal assaults against Recreate 68 activist Carlo Garcia and Code Pink activist Alicia Forrest.
The cops did not respond to the overtures by IVAW with any respect. Instead, they brought out hundreds of officers in full riot gear on bicycles, motorcycles, horses and the riding boards of SUVs. The state forces lined the entire route of the veterans’ peaceful march, stopping it several times along the way for no apparent reason other than to assert their control.
However, this small army, meant to be intimidating, did not stop the march from growing. Onlookers and people getting off work joined in and swelled the ranks, despite the oppressiveness of a blazing August sun. Boots Riley of The Coup and members of Rage Against the Machine, both groups that performed at the Denver Coliseum, participated in the march as well.
Militant chants of “One, two, three four, what we need is class war! Five, six, seven, eight, end the war, smash the state!” alternated with “Troops out now!” and “Cops out now!”
The march ended up across from Auraria Parkway, the street that separates Auraria campus, the largest in the state, from the Pepsi Center grounds.
On Thursday, Aug. 28, more than 1,000 participated in a march for immigrant rights, shutting down one section of an overpass to Interstate 25. The march ended in Lincoln Park near the public housing complex where Frank Lobato, a disabled Latino man, had been shot while lying in bed by Denver cop Ranjan Ford.
The five days of protests were designed to show the complicity of the Democratic Party in U.S. imperialism and to demonstrate that an independent movement free from either ruling class party is needed. The militancy did not wane.
On display as well were the repressive forces of the state, regardless of the nonviolent nature of the protests.
Larry Hales was an organizer with Recreate 68 Alliance and FIST in Denver.