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News ::
Charles St. 3/29: the "after-protest" protest (english)
31 Mar 2003
Modified: 02 Apr 2003
An interesting scene developed after the rally proper,
as protesters attempting to block traffic were
routed by police on horseback and motorcycles.
Hi Alice,

Catch me up time, eh, hahaha. I have 142 messages in my
inbox, about twice normal, and I'm losing track of time. In
solidarity with the combatants, I've taken on a wartime
mentality, sleeping in irregular snatches and being only
partly awake the rest of the time. But at least I finally got
a laundry done. Well here's my report, I was thinking about
posting something at indyedia, so I'm composing it here
and will just use the result. In fact I'll post the whole e-mail :)

I did make it over there after 3, as the last of the marchers
were returning to the Commons from the march loop.
That was across Beacon to Hereford (one street before
Mass Ave), up Herefrod, and back via Boylston. I'm sorry
I missed that. After that it was mostly milling around,
except for some action on the strip of Charles St that
separates the Common from the Gardens. Some people
there wanted to block traffic and they staged a die-in.
(separate from the die-ins along the march route).
Some of these people were prepared to be arrested,
but I don't know that anyone actually was. At 4pm
the cops told us the protest was over and they were
going to let traffic back onto Charles St. They tried various
tactics to clear people out of the street, including buzzing
us with passes of motorcycles and horses, but people kept
going back in. Six cops did pick up one wriggling protester
who wouldn't get up, but I was informed she hadn't been
arrested. Finally they lined both sides with officers, facing
off the protesters, and edging us onto the sidewalks.
Many people would still take advantage of the traffic light
changing to cross back and forth with banners in the air.

The mood was defiant but not violent, with chants going up
from time to time. There were a couple younger people
with bandanas over their lower faces, which was
ticking off the cops. A masked guy right next to me was
making obscure little hand signals at a cop who was about
10 feet from us, intended to be vaguely menacing I guess.
The cop was taking this seriously, and made a show of
pointing him out to the officer next to him. There were also
some pro-war protesters, e.g. one with a Bomb Saddam
sign, who were baiting the anti-wars with provocative
statements, which was somewhat positive as it resulted
in some debate with those nearby.

There were also sporadic exchanges between protesters
and cops, but the message from the cops was basically,
the protest is over, go home. One officer, conveying both
amusement and irritation, said (from memory) "I don't
understand you people. What are you people still doing here?
Do you think I would fuckin' be here if I wasn't getting paid?
Why are you still here? Are you waiting for something to
happen?"

The cops on horseback banged into a few people, which
I guess was the idea, but as far as I could tell nobody got hurt.
One woman kept yelling at them not to put the horses in
this situation, saying they were obviously upset (I don't know
enough about horses to confirm that). A man with a toddler
on his shoulders partially lost his balance in a little exchange
with one officer. The potential for violence was there, but
not realized, which was hopefully instructional for all.

In the end they pushed us off the sidewalks and back into
the parks on each side. I was on the Gardens side during
all of this. Then I walked down to the corner and crossed
over, to find a jam and chant session on the Commons side,
that was still going when I left, some time after 6 by my
estimation.
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Comments

One thing you left out... (english)
01 Apr 2003
Important note:

There was violence at this post-rally rally. One of the pro-war individuals punched an a peaceful anti-war protestor in the face after having a heated discussion. This same pro-war person spit on people when the masses called him out on this... the cops refuse to do anything saying that "he's walking away so its fine now" (that is a quote from an officer that also told us that since he didn't see anything he couldn't do anything about it). The individual left the commons laughing and taunting the anti-war demonstrators.

The pro-war side threatened several people with violence after this incident, myself included. Unfortunately the smell of alcohol was strong on several individuals, giving a heavy discredit to their actions.
thanks :) (english)
02 Apr 2003
A-Dub, thank you, I screwed up, and you helped me
see that. I was trying to report only what I saw,
and not what I didn't see. I said at one point
"as far as I could tell nobody got hurt", good - but
I slipped up when I said "The potential for violence
was there, but not realized", since I didn't know that
for a fact. I screwed up that day, when I told someone
there had been one arrest, after seeing the woman
carried off by the cops, but I didn't know that for
a fact either. I was then informed by someone else
that she hadn't been arrested - which is exactly what
I reported, that I had been so "informed", since I didn't
know that for a fact either!

As Peter Arnett was just saying on NPR a little while
ago, this is also an information war. It's bad enough
we have people on all sides deliberately lying to us,
but we add insult to injury when we further confuse
issues by making assumptions, or distorting things
when we relay them inaccurately.