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Mass Arrests at DNC, 8/25

The anti-capitalist march gathered Monday evening around 1800 at Civic Center Park. By 1830 they were organized and marched out of Civic Center Park onto Bannock Street. They advanced a half block before encountering a line of riot police. The strom troopers were well armed with CO spray tanks (it looks like a red fire extinguisher), four foot clubs, bean bag guns (which look like grenade launchers), tear gas, pepper ball guns (the kind the Boston police used to murder Victoria Snelgrove at the 2004 Red Sox victory), and full riot gear.

With the bloc advancing, the first two rows linked arms and shouted "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "No justice! No peace!" There was good morale and momentum, which broke when the bloc got within five feet of the police. The storm troopers sprayed clouds of CO spray at the anti-capitialists who had no weapons or armor of any sort. The police also attacked reporters on the scene, targeting their cameras and bulbs.

The protestors recoiled, causing an accordion effect. The bloc was pushed forward into the attacking police before breaking and falling back towards the middle of the park. There were a few who were running, but some well-minded affinity groups rallied the bloc with shouts of "Walk! Don't run!" and "Slow down! Face them!" The bloc regrouped quickly, but not very efficiently. There was a discussion of forming a wedge, which gave way quickly to the typical arm-linked formation in rows.

At this point, the bloc pushed out the few police who had advanced into the park. There were a few moments of intense stand off before word circulated that there would be a breakout attempt towards the back of the park, which was fifty yards away. The breakout was a success in the sense that the bloc got onto the streets at 16th Street Mall, where it soon advanced towards Court Place, where the previous day's march had started to gain momentum. The bloc marched into a cordoned area, where two dozen riot police were in place at the intersection of 16th and Court, with more riot police rolling in behind them.

The march advanced in face of this confrontation, aware or not of the police organizing behind them. When the bloc marched down 16th Street, an armored SUV arrived with ten fascist storm troopers riding on running boards on the back and sides. At this point the bloc was separating in the face of this advancing behemoth, but held a thin middle line. The riot police then dismounted and police on either side of the bloc started to fan into the bloc's flanks, which were on the sidewalk. They were pushed back a small distance, exposing the middle on its flanks now. This is when the police started to attack, nibbling at the sides of the bloc, attacking people with clubs and pepper spray.

On the right side facing down 16th, the bloc was pushed against the side of a hotel building. Members of the crowd attempted to leave, some part of the bloc and some not. The police prevented their exit with force. It was at this point that the police demanded all the media leave and started to usher or force many of the photographers and videographers out of the police circle and away from the victims of police violence. These are some of the same reporters that the police attacked earlier, smashing cameras and recording devices with their long clubs. A few brave journalists resisted and remained within the bloc as the police readied to close in.

With most of the media gone, the police attacked. They began to club protestors, spraying OC into certain parts of the crowd. Carbines that shot balls of pepper spray hit the center of the crowd as the police charged into the thinning center.

At this point there was a great drop in morale as some members of the bloc tried to leave, but were brutalized by the police and pushed back into the surrounded pocket. With the protest split, the left side sat down and attempted to stay merry with the sword of arrest over our heads. There were some old wobbly classics carried on by two men from the West, but the most popular was "Folsom Prison Blues," with almost everyone joining in at some point in the song.

In the face of this uniting song, the police shifted uneasily. Some pointed their bean bag guns at singing individuals, other slapped their sticks into their armored hands or on the ground. None of this deterred the tense, quasi-positive mood of the seated bloc, where only four Indymedia folks were left in the crowd. Then came a rattling cry of "let them go!" from a group of a few hundred supporters outside the police cordon in a show of solidarity for those trapped by the police.

The pigs then announced that they would "let anyone go" who gave them their ID. They stayed true to their word for the first three who came forward; they were free to go. Then came the mass (but painstakingly slow) arrest.

It was 2030 when the police had complete control of the situation. They began to split the crowd more (I call it a crowd at this point because there were civilians not involved with the protest whom the police were arresting) and pick off individuals. The mood was very tense as the pigs came in to arrest someone. There was no resistance to the arrests, only the solidarity of knowing your comrade would be in the cell with you. As each person was pulled up, there would be pats of support, the occasional clapping and "See ya soon!" Everyone knew they were going to be arrested and acted in solidarity with one another.

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Views expressed on this website do not necessarily represent the ideas or opinions of the Northeast Anarchist Network or affiliated groups. Posts, comments and statements represent the individual user by which they are posted, or an individual or group cited within the text.