[JNV Announce] 1000 arrested in protests at Republican National Convention

Milan Rai info at justicenotvengeance.org
Wed, 01 Sep 2004 16:53:30 +0100


900 protesters arrested during march toward Garden
Across midtown and lower Manhattan, protesters and police clash, sparking chaos during rush hour civil unrest
		 	
This story was reported by Daryl Khan, Lindsay Faber, Luis Perez, Sean Gardiner, Indrani Sen, Rocco Parascandola, Glenn Thrush, Wil Cruz, Marshand Boone, Tomoeh Murakami Tse, Galia Garcia-Palafox, and

Newsday, September 1, 2004

http://tinyurl.com/42gew

Waves of protesters clashed with police across midtown and lower Manhattan last night, resulting in at least 900 arrests.

The chaos began 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."

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.

Minutes after the crowd gathered, police in phalanx formation linked arms. As scuffles broke out, police strung orange netting and appeared to be preparing to make hundreds of arrests.

They relented on the arrest plan at 7 p.m., as people began to move to Herald Square. Six people blocked 42nd Street. Police rushed them with scooters, tackled them and loaded them into a van.

Meanwhile, at Ground Zero - a touchstone symbol in this year's presidential race - a peaceful march turned sour as police strung orange nets at Vesey and Church streets, corralling 200 people including journalists and onlookers.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly blamed the Ground Zero arrests on march organizers "reneging on an agreement not to block traffic" and "failing to walk on sidewalk instead of street."

But many detainees told reporters they were not aware of the rules. "They said as long as you observe the red lights, it shouldn't be a problem," said Bob Curley, who was arrested with his son. "Then we walked off the sidewalk and across the street and that was the end."

Police filled five busloads of detainees as people screamed, "Arrest George Bush." "We are fighting against our own people, we have our own people against us," said Stephanie Lobello, 21, a tattoo artist from Flushing. "There is no freedom in this country."
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East Village church serves as base for activists
By MICHAEL GANNON
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: September 1, 2004)

http://www.thejournalnews.com/newsroom/090104/a0601gopstmarks.html

NEW YORK — Someone asking passers-by for money on an East Village corner isn't all that unusual, but Emerson Running Sky's request yesterday wasn't the run-of-the-mill query for loose change for a slice of pizza.

"We need to raise $200,000 to bail him out," Running Sky, 35, explained to a young man who stopped to listen to the plea made on behalf of Yusuke "Josh" Banno, arrested Sunday at the massive United for Peace and Justice march. "He didn't do anything. It could have been you or me."

Banno was among those who were arrested when protesters set a papier-maché dragon's head on fire. His supporters say he had nothing to do with the incident.

Such was the scene at St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery Episcopal Church, which has this week become home base for the thousands of young protesters and activists who have descended on the city to counter the Republican National Convention.

And while the 205-year-old church has long been in symmetry with the East Village's bohemian culture, this week it has again blossomed with a spirit and culture of activism not seen in some time, perhaps since the days when Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell read poetry there, said Frank Morales, the church's assistant pastor.

"We're trying to do what we feel we're called to do as a church, and that is support our ministry of social justice," said Morales, 55, who grew up in the neighborhood.

Morales, a hipster of a priest clad in all black — sans clerical collar — with a tuft of grey beard sprouting from his chin, is St. Mark's unofficial host, coordinating schedules and providing space for the variety of programs that set up shop there.

They range from the artistic to the practical.

Each night, a group of artisans is using one of the church's two courtyards to read the names of Iraqis and Americans killed since the start of war last year. Seeds of Peace, a San-Francisco-based cooperative of organic farmers, is serving more than 5,000 free meals in two installments daily to feed the hungry activists.

Yesterday, a group of several dozen grubby but earnest-looking, mostly twenty- and thirtysomethings sat in the courtyard and listened intently to lawyer Katya Komisaruk explain what to do if they were arrested in nonviolent civil disobedience.

"Tell the police, 'I'm going to remain silent and I'd like to see a lawyer,' " she instructed, as the sun filtered through the trees.

Morales said the church's yard is filled until about 3 a.m. nightly, but there has not been "a beer between them."

"The FBI says they're infiltrating protest groups," he mused. "Who? These guys?"

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Yale student tried to get in VP's box, cops say
Wednesday, September 01, 2004

<http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-2/109402987013230.xml>

NEW YORK (AP) - A straight-A Yale junior was arrested after entering a restricted area near Vice President Dick Cheney's booth at the Republican National Convention, coming within 10 feet of him and shouting anti-war statements, authorities said yesterday.

Cheney was never in danger, and no weapon was found on the man, identified as 21-year-old Thomas Frampton, the authorities said. Frampton was charged with assaulting federal officers and impeding the operation of the Secret Service, two misdemeanor charges which carry maximum one-year prison terms, in court papers filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

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Shout Heard Around the World: Nearly 1,000 Arrested in Series of RNC Protests
Wednesday, September 1st, 2004
Democracy Now (radical internet radio station)

Listen at:
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/09/01/1424236

More than 950 people were arrested yesterday as thousands of activists carried out a series of direct actions and civil disobedience at locations throughout New York City yesterday. The protests were organized by the A31 Action Coalition, a decentralized umbrella group made up of scores of activist organizations and affinity groups. Yesterday's arrests brought the number of arrests during the Republican National Convention to over 1500.

The groups participating in yesterday's coordinated actions ranged from the War Resisters League to the Ruckus Society to CODE Pink to Direct Action to the San Francisco-based Stop the War. The protests targeted Republican delegates, corporate media outlets, mega corporations and government buildings, as well as other sites. A few hours before the actions kicked off, some of the groups working with the A31 Action Coalition held a press conference.

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Hundreds of protesters arrested 	
Demonstrations are nonviolent 	

By M.E. SPRENGELMEYER
Scripps Howard News Service

September 01. 2004 9:53AM

NEW YORK - The police had their hands full trying to contain acts of civil disobedience on the streets of Manhattan yesterday as protesters used surprise demonstrations and symbolic acts of nonviolent resistance to try to shout down the Republican National Convention.

Several hundred demonstrators were arrested, including more than 100 who tried to mount a somber march from Ground Zero to mourn those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the wars that followed.

"I was feeling so positive earlier in the day. I felt positive about everything," said march organizer Elizabeth Broad of the War Resisters League, watching as other marchers were handcuffed and hauled away in city buses. "I was looking forward to participating in this. I'm rather devastated those folks just got picked off."

Until yesterday, most of the protests against President Bush had been announced in advance and had city approval and police escorts. But members of a coalition calling itself "A31"planned nonviolent sneak attacks throughout the city yesterday, marching wherever they pleased and performing street theater - both serious and satirical - at strategic locations.

The day began with an unusual sight outside the New York Hilton hotel. Women and men wearing pig snouts were feeding out of a cardboard trough filled with fake $100 bills, then rolling on the sidewalk and slathering themselves with cash.

They said they were "pigging out" at the taxpayers' expense, just like Iraq reconstruction contractor Halliburton. The company, once led by Vice President Dick Cheney, sponsored a breakfast for Texas delegates inside the hotel.

Nearby, Republican delegate Conrad Pogorzelski of North Carolina took the spectacle in stride.

"I thought it was comical," he said. "They're just being peaceful and having fun."

A short while later, there was a gathering at Columbus Park in New York's Chinatown. Protesters gathering for one unsanctioned march mingled with Republican delegates from Missouri who showed up for a community cleanup project.

It was a sleepy setting at 9 a.m., with dozens of elderly Chinatown residents sitting stoically on park benches, a few practicing martial arts in a fenced-off yard and crowds of men surrounding boisterous games of Chinese checkers.

Gradually, small groups of young people started arriving, some wearing all-black, two with Mohawk haircuts, and others carrying signs and banners for a march opposing federal detention policies at home and abroad.
For the past several days, protesters had been busy tracking down GOP delegates to taunt. But in Columbus Park, the two groups mostly stayed to themselves - they even had a few calm conversations about civil rights.
	
Dozens of police officers arrived at the park, but they soon struck a deal with protest organizers allowing for a march.

At noon, the protesters marched peacefully, then rallied across the street from offices of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and immigration and customs officials.

Participants decried the prisoner abuse in Iraq, detention of suspected enemy combatants and alleged harassment of Arab Americans and political dissenters.

A man portraying a federal agent led in 10 men and women who were handcuffed behind their backs. He ordered them to their knees and placed black hoods over their heads.

"We don't care if you're U.S. citizens or illegal aliens," he snarled. "You are classified as enemy combatants. You don't have any rights. You don't have a right to consult a lawyer. You can forget about the Constitution. That doesn't apply to you."

Elsewhere in town, protesters held surprise protests outside the offices of various corporations and perceived "war profiteers." One group held a "shut-up-a-thon" outside the studios of Fox News, trying to taunt conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly.

Several hundred people gathered outside the World Trade Center, planning to march across town without a permit and hold a somber "die-in" by throwing their bodies in the street outside Madison Square Garden. But they got less than a half a block before the police put up a roadblock, penned them in and arrested an estimated 100 to 200 people.

There was a tense standoff at Union Square after the police arrested several young protesters who were wearing cardboard or plastic tubes on their forearms as a primitive form of body-armor. Hundreds of sympathetic protesters filled the area, and police officers in riot gear ordered them to clear out. The crowds taunted the police, chanting: "Whose park? Our park!"

Finally, a supervisor ordered the officers to back out of the park, prompting wild cheers of approval.

"I think it's great that they left. It could have been much worse," said observer Rebecca Thornton of Los Angeles.

There were tense moments and scattered arrests across the city. Several dozen young activists got tired of being ushered back and forth in Union Square, so they began an impromptu march toward Madison Square Garden, banging drums, singing, dancing and yelling, "This is what democracy looks like!"

The police scrambled to keep up, but it was tough since even the marchers didn't know where they were going. At one point, a convoy of buses carrying Republican delegates was forced to change its route to Madison Square Garden, although even the marchers were unaware what they had done.

As the convention speeches began last night, thousands of noisy protesters jammed into Herald Square, a few blocks from the convention site. The crowd included people of all ages, most of whom were dressed like New York shoppers, not radicals.

"A couple of years ago, I wouldn't have been out here," said Zack Stoner, a 23-year-old telephone worker from Wisconsin. "I looked at these people like they're a fringe group. But now I'm in a union that almost had to strike. Life got hard. My friends went to war and now I'm all about caring."

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