Yet Another Batch of RNC Protest Stories
- 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*
New York Newsday
'Anarchist' charged with assaulting cop
BY SEAN GARDINER, DAN JANISON AND TOMOEH MURAKAMI TSE
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
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
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
BY KERRY BURKE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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.
Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & 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