Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Yet Another Batch of RNC Protest Stories

Expand Messages
  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo ***** [Somewhat strangely, Newsday, the same outlet that carried all sorts of
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2004
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:


      [Somewhat strangely, Newsday, the same outlet that carried
      all sorts of ridiculous propaganda promising anarchist
      violence, including fabricated quotations, now tells us that
      the one violent individual out of half a million was *not*
      an anarchist.--DC]

      New York Newsday
      'Anarchist' charged with assaulting cop
      Staff Writers
      September 1, 2004, 7:32 PM EDT

      Thus far, the most disruptive of the throngs of "anarchists"
      said to have converged on the city to protest the GOP
      convention is a troubled young man from Harlem who's not
      affiliated with any protest group.

      Jamal Holiday, 19, was awaiting arraignment last night in
      Manhattan Criminal Court charged with assaulting Det.
      William Sample on Monday night outside the convention.

      Sample was knocked off his scooter, then kicked and punched
      after he drove into a crowd of protesters who were
      attempting to stop police officers from stretching metal
      barriers across the intersection at Eighth Avenue and 29th

      The attack seemed to be an example of the type of violence
      officials had warned might break out with tens of thousands
      of protesters and so-called anarchists flocking to town. But
      Holiday is not affiliated with any protest group, Mayor
      Michael Bloomberg said.

      "He was a hooligan from another part of this city who didn't
      seem to have any political beliefs or anything else,"
      Bloomberg said yesterday. "He just wanted to kick a police
      officer in the face."

      Holiday lives at the Manhattan West Group Home, a facility
      on West 127th in Harlem run by the Salvation Army. According
      to its Web site, the facility provides "homes for adolescent
      boys and girls who have been referred by the court system.
      These young people are among the most difficult in the
      foster care system."

      He had been living at the Manhattan East Group Home on East
      116th Street until he was arrested there on criminal
      mischief charges on Dec. 17. That arrest came after he
      allegedly threatened to beat up another resident, then
      kicked a phone that struck that man's leg, according to
      court records.

      Other group home youths, none of whom would give their
      names, said yesterday that while Holiday, who is African
      American, didn't belong to any political group, he was "in
      our faces" when it came to talking his kind of politics.

      "He was always talking about politics, but it was the wrong
      kind of politics," one young man said. "Black this, Puerto
      Rican that."

      Holiday's housemates brought down what they described as
      things Holiday kept in his room. One cartoon showed a Nazi
      stomping on an Arab man. Other pictures were of
      African-Americans being lynched.

      Another young man, who said he knew Holiday for six years,
      said Holiday went to trade school, attended services at a
      mosque and didn't drink alcohol or smoke.

      "He's a good kid, he's smart," he said of Holiday.

      In a separate but related development yesterday, the
      National Lawyers Guild said yesterday it will ask the
      Manhattan's District Attorney's office to investigate the
      role of the officer assaulted in a rally on Monday that
      nearly turned into a riot. He charged that police tactics
      that night incited the chaos.

      "It was a crazy, provocative act designed to hurt people,"
      said Daniel Alterman, an attorney, of plainclothes police
      officers allegedly ramming into crowds with motorcycles.

      Alterman said he is representing the woman showed in a video
      as the beating takes place. Police had been looking to speak
      to the unidentified woman.

      Alterman, who said the woman is a computer specialist in her
      30s, said she will come forward and give a statement to the
      District Attorney's office.


      In among the anarchists
      News reporter listens to plans for 'direct action' today

      I went undercover to explore New York's anarchist
      underground during the days before the Republican National

      For a week, I slept in my clothes. I hung around lower East
      Side anarchist cafes. And I sat in on meetings at St. Mark's
      in the Bowery Church, the semiofficial welcome center for
      out-of-town protest groups.

      Everyone talked about A31, and how their day of "direct
      action" on Aug. 31 [today] was going to be big.

      They had their own Web site with directions to their
      headquarters. Only early orientation meetings were posted
      there, though. Organizational meetings the week before the
      convention were strictly word-of-mouth.

      "Cory," a leader of the Critical Mass bike rides that jammed
      major intersections and ended in the arrests of more than
      260 on Friday, tipped me off to the secret meetings.

      "No cops, no press," Cory said.

      The "Spoke House" is a third-floor artist's loft in Red
      Hook, Brooklyn. About 70 reps of anarchist groups and their
      members squatted on the floor.

      As a newcomer, I sat with my back to the wall and chatted
      with a dreadlocked punk painter and her slacker beau, both
      from Brooklyn, to deflect suspicion.

      Individuals introduced themselves on a first-name-only
      basis. Many had monikers like Brush, Willow and Skate.

      The meeting was organized into about 20 "Affinity Groups"
      and "Clusters." They had code names like Pagan Bloc,
      Basement Group, and Just Act. They came from all over the
      nation -- Chicago, Seattle, Boston, California's Bay Area.

      The New York contingent was mostly made up of college kids.
      The stifling room was almost exclusively white.

      Each group was "open" for new members or "closed" to
      newcomers. The open groups talked about having disruptive
      but nonviolent demos. Closed groups were more secret, but
      most had radical actions with subsequent arrest in mind.

      The people I was with said Aug. 31 would be a whole day of
      "autonomous" action.

      "The culmination of our protests will be at Madison Square
      Garden," said Martin, a slender guy decked in black with a
      pageboy haircut. "We'll get as close as we can."

      Brush, a lanky thirtyish hippie in a jumpsuit from "True
      Security, San Francisco," then took the floor. He explained
      how groups would communicate via cell phones during street

      "We have evolved," Brush said, stroking his long chestnut
      beard. "We have high tech."

      On Sunday, I walked among anarchists in the massive United
      for Peace and Justice march.

      Without warning, I was suddenly in the belly of the beast.

      Amid whispers of "It's on, it's on," a dozen men in black
      commandeered a 30-foot-long green dragon float and set it
      afire -- ruining what had been a peaceful anti-war protest

      They were members of the Black Bloc, a free-floating group
      of violent anarchists.

      Nothing like this had been discussed in the meetings I sat
      in on last week.

      Originally published on August 31, 2004


      New York Newsday
      Peaceful protest after violent night
      By Staff and Wire reports
      September 1, 2004, 5:59 PM EDT

      Carrying Anti-Bush signs and shouting "Down with George
      Bush!," a mix of a handful of celebrities and thousands of
      unionists paraded down 8th Avenue in a largely peaceful
      afternoon demonstration.

      Several thousand people -- including city teacher's union
      President Randi Weingarten and actors James Gandolfini and
      Danny Glover -- covered West 30th to West 23rd streets at
      about 5 p.m. Wednesday in a protest whose aim was to counter
      the Republican National convention.

      Some said they believed President George W. Bush was
      anti-union and that during his term, unemployment increased
      and job conditions worsened.
      [Is that a controversial belief?--DC]

      "It's very hard for Americans to make it without getting a
      second job," said Collette Bowers, 24, an electrician from
      Kew Gardens, Queens. "It seems like the Republicans are
      really trying to destroy the middle class. They are not for
      the working people; they only think about the haves and the

      "I am here to support John Kerry and get Bush out of the
      White House," saud John Acerno, 21, of Port Jefferson, L.I.
      "If Kerry gets back in office, we can get back to being a
      prosperous union like we should be."

      The protesters carried signs reading "Bush Leaves families
      behind," and "Don't take away my overtime pay." Some carried
      effigies with Bush having a Pinocchio noses. Gandolfini, who
      spoke briefly, said he was outraged that the GOP had invaded
      his hometown.

      Earlier, protesters formed an "unemployment line," organized
      by the nonprofit Washington-based People for the American
      Way. It was part of the Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues and
      Ideas that called for a creative response to party politics.

      The uneventful march contrasted with Tuesday's struggles
      between police and protesters, when 970 demonstrators were
      arrested as authorities used metal barriers and orange
      netting to control swarming crowds from reaching a
      fortress-like Madison Square Garden.

      Police said more than 1,500 people have been arrested in
      convention-related protests since late last week. Police
      Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police "have shown great
      restraint in the face of relentless provocation."

      Not everyone agreed with that assessment of the NYPD's actions.

      "There were a bunch of people playing, and the police came
      out of nowhere and went crazy," said Micky Thorbecke, 17,
      who sat on the sidewalk after being released today by cops
      after 12 hours in custody. A student at Manhattan's City as
      a School, Thorbecke said he was arrested about 7 p.m.
      Tuesday near Union Square while riding his skateboard behind
      a group of protestors.

      "Police with riot gear formed lines. I tried to leave. . . .
      They were just really aggressive. They stole my skateboard
      and claimed they'd never seen it."

      Worse, Thorbecke said the dismissal of charges against him
      pending in another case might be jeopardized by this arrest.
      He said he wasn't the only innocent, either. "I was just
      following along, seeing what was going on."

      "Yesterday you saw a bunch of people who said they were
      going to bring the city to its knees, and they didn't,"
      Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in an interview Wednesday.
      "They wanted to come ruin people's time when they were here,
      and they didn't do it. If you want to protest, we're the
      city. I think we showed clearly on Sunday that we can
      accommodate you. If you want to come and break the law, we
      also showed we're a city of laws, as we are a nation of
      laws. We enforce the law, and if you want to break the law,
      you're going to get arrested."

      When Republican youth gathered Wednesday morning on the
      convention floor for an event, 10 AIDS activists rose from
      their ranks, blew whistles and chanted "Bush kills!" as
      White House chief of staff Andrew Card spoke. A scuffle
      broke out between protesters and event participants, and
      police moved in to remove the demonstrators.

      As buses full of arrested protesters pulled out of a West
      Side Highway holding facility on their way to central
      booking Wednesday, a few hundred people gathered to cheer
      them on, chanting "Let them out!" Lawyers and advocates,
      including Tom Hayden of the Chicago Seven, held a news
      conference to complain about police tactics toward
      demonstrators and their treatment of suspects in custody.

      "History was made this week," Hayden said. "I'm here to
      congratulate and applaud the demonstrators and ask those who
      are the purveyors of fear to apologize."

      Bruce Bentley, a protest observer for the National Lawyers
      Guild, alleged there were reports that people were chased
      down, handcuffed and beaten by police officers in some
      cases. He said those reports had not been verified.

      Top police spokesman Paul Browne said those accusations were

      "There's a lot of misinformation being put out there," he
      said. "There was very disciplined restraint throughout the
      ranks -- any objective observer would confirm that."

      Police said about 20 of the nearly 1,000 demonstrators taken
      into custody have requested medical treatment, but for
      conditions like asthma attacks, none for physical injuries.

      The chaos began last night in the midst of rush hour, as
      commuters tried to make their way home and security around
      Madison Square Garden tightened for convention speeches by
      first lady Laura Bush and California Gov. Arnold
      Schwarzenegger. The disorder took place on a day that
      anarchist groups had marked for civil disobedience.

      At Bryant Park, tensions erupted at 6 p.m. when a dispute
      over a banner sparked rough-and-tumble verbal and physical
      encounters between marchers and police on and around the
      steps of the public library.

      Meanwhile, at Ground Zero, a controversial police dragnet at
      Church and Vesey streets swept up 200 marchers minutes after
      about 500 of them left on their way to a "die-in."

      As police sirens blared into the night, marchers moved to
      Herald Square where a series of running encounters took
      place. Police closed Broadway. The sidewalks were overwhelmed.

      "They aren't letting me go this way, they're not letting me
      go that way," said Joyce Breach, 60, of the East Village,
      after shopping at Macy's. "I wish the police treated
      tax-paying New Yorkers with as much consideration as they
      have for these Republicans."

      As of 11 p.m., some 900 people had been arrested, said
      Deputy Chief Michael Collins; 150 alone were arrested at
      35th Street and Sixth Avenue. At nearby 35th Street and
      Fifth Avenue about 10 p.m., there were so many arrests that
      police did not have enough buses to transport those they
      took into custody.

      The wave of arrests came a day after a protester attacked a
      plainclothes officer during a demonstration.

      Last night's situation was serious enough that Mayor Michael
      Bloomberg went to the police command center at Penn Station
      last night.

      By midnight, the situation was still developing, but there
      were no reports of serious injury or extensive vandalism.

      Earlier, with dusk descending, the chaos at Bryant Park
      began when police pounced on two men unfurling a
      black-and-pink banner.

      Hundreds of protesters immediately unfurled their own
      banners, chanting, "Let them go." Police threw a woman to
      the ground. The crowd surrounded the officers, chanting,
      "The Whole World is Watching."

      "It was unbelievable," said Cyndy Bruce, 26, of Chicago.
      "This is a public space. The officer said, 'You can't hang
      it but you can hold it.' As soon as they held it up, the
      officers swarmed in. They incited this violence. Not us."

      "It feels like a tactic of fear they're trying to instill in
      us like they're nervous and they feel the need to start
      controlling people," said Courtney Arnold, 27, of Babylon.


      Email from Kilroy
      RNC Reporter's Notebook
      By N.J. Burkett

      (New York-WABC, August 31, 2004) -- I met Kilroy in Union
      Square last week. Now, this self-described anarchist was
      emailing me in the middle of the night.

      "A coalition of groups," he wrote, "will be throwing a
      'Shut-up-thon'" outside the headquarters of News
      Corporation, Rupert Murdoch's media empire, and the midtown
      studios of the Fox News Channel. "It's sure to be a spectacle."

      Activists had been secretly planning a series of civil
      disobediance protests for August 31st, day two of the
      convention. Now, the targets of their outrage were becoming

      Halliburton, the controversial defense contractor once run
      by the Vice President, was sponsoring a breakfast for the
      Texas delegation.

      When we arrived at the Hilton Hotel, we found a man in a
      Dick Cheney mask showering mock U.S. currency on other
      demonstrators wearing pig noses, who rolled around the
      sidewalk chanting, "We love money, we love war. We love
      Cheney even more!"

      Some delegates seemed amused. Others had had enough. "I
      understand their right to do this," said one delegate. "But
      there have been so many protests, I just block it out."

      Outside the hotel, thirty protesters were watched by more
      than sixty police officers. There were no arrests, although
      they could have been charged not only with blocking the
      sidewalk, but with littering.

      But that was not the case on Wall Street. When seventeen
      demonstrators were arrested, apparently, for blocking the

      The NYPD's "zero-tolerance" policy seems to be this--if you
      make the sidewalks or the streets impassible for any
      extended period of time, you're probably going to get arrested.

      By late afternoon, the crowds outside the Fox News Channel
      studios were growing. More and more people pressing closer
      and closer to the front door. They chanted, "Shut up, Fox!
      Shut up, Bill O'Reilly!" They said the Fox News slogan,
      "Fair and Balanced," is a charade.

      For ninety tense minutes, it was a standoff. The police,
      determined to keep the rush hour traffic moving. The
      protesters, determined to hold their ground.

      But the police never closed in. And by six o'clock, the
      demonstrators began to disperse, peacefully. Typical of the
      kind of noisy, non-violent protests that have threatened to
      upstage this convention.

      The NYPD deserves credit for managing the protests with
      skill and restraint.

      But the organizers and activists deserve some credit, too.
      It is difficult to control individuals in large crowds but,
      by Wednesday morning, they had made their points without
      resorting to violence.

      The Fox protest was a spectacle, all right. But, thanks to
      smart, level-headed people on both sides, that was all it was.


      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord We├┐rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      "It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
      *anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
      -- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
      _Detective Comics_ #608
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.