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News :: DNC : Human Rights
Complete Recap of Monday's March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
26 Jul 2004
A detailed recount of Monday's march for civil liberties and against police brutality. About 400 people marched from the Boston Common towards the Fleet Center, site of the Democratic National Convention. The corporate media was swarming everywhere. The police were surprisingly restrained, given how they been behaving lately, such as in Miami and Georgia. The end of the march was disorganized, since there was no clear plan about what to do when we reached the protest pen.
dan_interview.jpg
[Editor's note: Although the Black Tea Society originally obtained the permit for this protest, it was actually organized by the Green-Rainbow Party (the Mass. chapter of the Greens), the Boston Anarchist Black Cross, and Homes Not Jails.]

26 July 2004

Black Tea Society March

We arrived at the area of the Boston Commons around 12, but the rally had gotten underway at 10. Music and speakers, but i didn't catch any of their names.
At 12:37, the march started to gather following the rally. Corporate media was swarming everywhere, especially at the front of the march. The police presence was minimal. The march left the park at 12:42, and we had 5 lanes of traffic, despite the fact that there were only around 300 people at the start. The chant at this point was “Police State- Shut it Down.”
The demographics were primarily white youth, with a fairly even gender balance. There were a decent number of crusty punks, other sporting anarchists paraphernalia, a small contingent of Maoists, green party people, and a number of others. By 12:53 we were deep into the shopping district, passing by the Armani store- probably not the best place to bring in new recruits to the march, but definitely fun. “Bombs are dropping while you are shopping.” Most bystanders looked either confused or pissed, and the march was getting pretty spread out.
By 1 pm, we had reached Dartmouth and Newbury, with plenty of cops standing around to guard Nike Town. The march had pretty much separated into two groups, spread out by around 30 yards. At 1:10 while passing by the Prudential Center, one protester dropped to the ground, and needed medical attention. I didn't hear what the actual cause was, but I heard it was heat related. Many people stayed behind to make sure the media did not get any pictures, which was great except that it further stretched the march's numbers. However, most people who stayed with the fallen kid caught back up.
At 1:23 we were back at the Boston Commons, and people's energy started to pick back up. Things had grown quiet, but it got a little more rowdy while we were marching between big buildings and we could get an echo effect. At 1:35 the cops pulled someone out of the crowd, and everyone gathered round, “Let him go, Let him go!”. Turns out the cops decided they had the power to search who ever they wanted. Hopefully someone who got a better view of the goings ons can fill us in on exactly how it went down.
Things went quietly for quite some time, until we reached the Federal Building and we saw the steel barricades for the first time. At state street and Scolley Square there was a group of horse cops and riot cops hanging around, and succeeded in quieting down the crowd through intimidation for a while.
At 2:18 we reached the street the protest pen started on, but as we turned on the street, the organizers stopped the march, and gave a quick speech on how “We refuse to self-incarcerate.” Cops surrounded the group on three sides, and at 2:22 the protesters sat in the street. Corporate media swarmed through the crowd, snapping photos and getting interviews with who ever would give them . The police promptly gave the dispersal order, but never enforced it. The media again swarmed the police commander, who got into a back and forth with an anti-Zionist jewish woman who had been leading many of the chants. While the cops were talking to the media, a mini-rally went on in the street, with one man singing a song called “Shooting at Brown People in the Sand,” and it was outstanding.
By this time, a huge crowd of tourists had formed and were taking all sorts of pictures, and the cops were claiming they didn't want to make any arrests. Truth be told, the police showed remarkable restraint, especially in comparison to how the cops have been behaving lately, such as Miami and Brunswick, Georgia. At 2:30, the cops and legal were still negotiating, and a spokescouncil was called in the street. At this point it was becoming abundantly clear that the march was throughly disorganized, with no one having any idea what we were going to do when we got to the protest pen. During the spokescouncil, many affinity groups had to decide whether to continue on the march, or return to the convergence center or what. The march's numbers continued to shrink the longer we sat around.
Finally, at 2:40 the march started going again, but cops were not letting bikers continue on their bikes, telling them that bikes were not allowed across some imaginary line. Eventually the bikers won the right to ride a couple more block, but were turned away by cops, some forcefully, as we neared the Fleet Center where the Democrats were meeting. The march stopped once again when the cops stopped the bikes the last time at 2:52, and some masked anarchists started playing spin the bottle, then did a repeat of Savannah and played a quick game of Duck, Duck, Goose. The police commander was still making his rounds talking to people, and at one point I overheard him say “Do whatever you want, just don't break anything.” Seriously a far cry from what i was expecting.
At 3:02 certain parts of the corporate media contingent got bored and left, but the march left a minute later and finally reached the protest pen at 3:06. There were National Guardsmen glowering down at us, and the pen itself was amazing. It was about 8 feet high and the same wide. We refused to go in it, and instead did chants and yelled at the democrats from behind the fence, even thought we could barely see through it. People started banging on the fence, and the cops still stayed restrained. Interestingly, the cops decided to form a line in front of the fence, but still didn't even try to stop people from banging on it.
At about 3:18, cops gave dispersal orders, but people still stood around for around another 10 minutes or so, with protesters drifting off, and curious tourists mingling in with what was left of the demo.
At 3:29 a group of delegates came out from the convention, and had to work their way through the protester, and took plenty of verbal abuse in the process. 3:33, and the leftovers of the demonstrators began to move down causeway, the street on which the protest pen was built. By the time we turned off Causeway, the numbers were down to 20 from a peak of around 400, and I took off.
All in all, the march seemed fairly disorganized, which led to a lot of standing around and kept the energy level fairly low, but as far as i know there were no arrests, and the corporate media had a huge presence, making it likely that perhaps some distorted message we were trying to send might make it into their rags.

[Editor's notes: Video available at http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/24273/index.php

Photos originally posted by MK (with captions) at http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/24415/index.php ]
foundation_pit.jpg
nion_pledge.jpg
papers.jpg
pit_bridge.jpg

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Complete recap of Monday's March
26 Jul 2004
Thanks! Good write up...
Re: Complete recap of Monday's March
26 Jul 2004
Wow, what a totally ineffectual afternoon. No wonder the Democrats are ignoring the left in America. "making it likely that perhaps some distorted message we were trying to send might make it into their rags"? Pathetic.
Re: Complete recap of Monday's March
26 Jul 2004
actually it was "bombs are dropping, stop your FUCKING shopping"

it was kind of shitty how there were tons of 16 year old punks who just yelled nonsense at reporters instead of at least presenting a coherent soundbite for them to use. also this was billed as an anti-patriot act/guantanamo/abu ghraib/etc march, but whoever was leading the chants wandered over just about every topic which just made us come off really incoherent and disorganized... it was good to see so many people out but it was kind of a bummer. it's good to see so many young kids but upsetting that they're such shitheads about it sometimes.
Re: Complete recap of Monday's March
26 Jul 2004
Not suprised the cops were low-key. They may have a labor-settlement by arbitration, but they aren't happy with it and were still going to picket some events. It might be time for bonding in the labor-relation camps and use it for activist advantage.
Re: Complete recap of Monday's March
26 Jul 2004
No two ways about it, this was a bust on all fronts. Low energy, low turnout, lots of media presence, but no coverage.
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
a complete bust? no way! one thing to remember when we are gathering for demos, protests, rallies is that the time and energy and spirit that we bring into our interactions do influence those near us as well as those far away. i can't be at the dnc but am thrilled to know that there are 16year olds learning what it means to protest - even being assholes, it's worth it in the long run. it's doubtful any of those kids will sign up to be a cop or go into the military, right?
i also think when energy gets low or folks are stagnating waiting for direction thats the perfect time to start sharing ideas for revolution. why not start an impromptu soap box rant?
in solidarity
pete
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
I only hope the low turn-out we have seen the past couple of days in Boston means that everyone is just saving their energy, money and vacation time for the RNC.

I was hoping the DNC protests would be bigger, but I'm glad to see some out there speaking out, standing up for what's right.
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
Actually, the game was Anarchist, Anarchist, Cop.
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
there were a bunch of things fucked up about how those kids were acting, such as trying to instigate with cops. don't get me wrong, i'm all for direction action, but this was a legal, permitted march, meaning people who didn't want to / couldn't afford to get arrested because of health / legal / privelige / etc concerns were there. if those little white boys in black hoodies had set anything off, a confrontation could have swept more people in who had no part in it. cops were surprisingly chill and there was no reason to be screaming at them.
pictures?
27 Jul 2004
any pics from this? i saw dozens of cameras (on our side not just the cops/media)...
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
nothing like a good game of "ARE YOU TRYING TO OPPRESS ME?!"
people with victim complexes will work it out in whatever way they can. it's fucked when that comes up in protests when we actually AREN"T being trampled upon.
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
if the cops are going to be chill, then we should use this to our advantage
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
play it cool, if the cops are not going to beat the hell out of us as in the other protests then DON'T ANTAGONIZE THEM! if you remember it went from Seatle, to prague, to the disasters in genoa and quebec. all because cops were actually scared of the escalating violence. If there is alot of violence in Boston, how do you think the New York Police department will react to the million or so protesters expected to show up....a small minority on the left shouldn't fuck it up for everyone on the left....if something serious goes down, all the protesters get the wrap. Not just the 15 year old "maoist". be cool
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
Will, save the sermon for the folks in church.

The reason the Boston cops and others haven't been inclined to use all their shiny robocop toys kick ass is simply that we are too damn small in numbers to be much of a concern. To anyone. In Quebec, Genoa and Seattle we had tens of thousands in the street from the very beginning of those actions. If the numbers grow, then don't be surprised to see a shift in police attitude.
there is a method to their brutality
27 Jul 2004
One other factor (besides our small numbers) may play into the pigs restraint. With the police violence in Miami, the cops could count on the press looking away. It was, after all, an arcane trade summit without celebrities. Not so with the conventions. I think part of the Miami strategy was to frighten us going into convention season (when the cameras were sure to be rolling live). I really think the bosses would prefer not to crack heads right outside the party's parties. The media CAN'T ignore the conventions entirely (like they did FTAA). Too many rich and famous gathered... They will beat and detain isolated individuals and small groups, but mass arrests and large scale attacks are unlikely, I think.

For the record (and contrary to comments in this story) the cops in Brunswick were huge in number but mostly non-violent, where the "illustrious leaders of the free world" were gathered for a media spectacle... See the pattern? The bosses haven't forgotten the PR black eye they took in Chicago 68. "Don't beat kids on the candidates doorstep, troops. Save it for the trade meetings and peace marches"
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
Boston COMMON... not Commons... heard that on Free Speech News, too... accuracy is important.

that said... the reason the protests are small is because the lefties realize the REAL enemy are the Republicans. That, as bad as Kerry is, Bush is FAR worse.
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
We need to stop, now, all this debate about who is right and who is wrong in the tactics of yesterday. No one will be able to control the actions of these kids, and these kids will not be able to control other's actions either. Lead by example, not by force or authoratarian orders handed out durring an event.

Despite what many of you think, taunting the cops does very little to provoke violence. The cops are given orders to use violence, and when they do no amount of singing "give peace a chance" is going to stop them from bashing your skull. The cops you see out there are ordered to be robots, for about every five, or ten there is a senior robot, or Sergeant. They are briefed before hand and told if, or when to use violence. That order comes from above cia radio.

So, telling some 16 year old punk kid (who many of us were just like when we were 16 in some way or another), not to yell at the cops is pointless. The cops will do what they will do.

As for split second decisions on what to do next after everything you have planned is over. Here are some ideas:

Play kids games!!!
Ring around the Rosey
Red Rover (split up on the sidewalks and play the game back and forth across the street)
do a congo line
drum
be militant

all of this can be organized in a split second, with no plan at all.

As for the 16 year old, I say embrace them, for they have passion.
HOW TO SET OFF THE PIGS
27 Jul 2004
the easiest way to set off the cops is to have a flag burning ceremony....that sux since flag burning is considered free speech by the supreme court...i still remeber when the dallas pigs arrested 96 of us after a wild war chest tour which cukminated with a "lets go shopping" stroll thru nieman-marcus and a flag being burned by joey johnson.
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
can i reiterate what i said. legal, permitted marchers are attended by people representing a wide spectrum of privelige, including people of color with legal discrimination risks, poor people with economic/bail risks, old people with health issues, aleins facing possible deportation etc, who really, really can't afford to get caught up in some juvenile tantrum where people get hurt/arrested and it is totally not 100% okay to bring that onto a march of this kind. and to say that what protestors do has NO affect on what cops do is nothing short of absurd.
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
*100% not okay. and i wanted to point out we're not all white suburban teenagers. fucking stupid
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
27 Jul 2004
My commentary is in Caps between the Quotes.

[Quote]
Re: Complete recap of Monday's March
by more to come?
(No verified email address) 26 Jul 2004
No two ways about it, this was a bust on all fronts. Low energy, low turnout, lots of media presence, but no coverage.[Quote]

i HAD SEEN COVERAGE OF THE MARCH ON CHANNEL 4 AND 7 AND ON RADIO AT 96.9. THE MOTIVATION FOR THE MARCH WAS DESCRIBED AS i HAD READ HERE ON OTHER POSTS. ONLY A FEW ARRESTS WHERE REPORTED AND NO INJURIES. THE WORD IS GETTING OUT.

[QUOTE]
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's Black Tea Society March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
by uhhuh
(No verified email address) 27 Jul 2004
Will, save the sermon for the folks in church.

The reason the Boston cops and others haven't been inclined to use all their shiny robocop toys kick ass is simply that we are too damn small in numbers to be much of a concern. To anyone. In Quebec, Genoa and Seattle we had tens of thousands in the street from the very beginning of those actions. If the numbers grow, then don't be surprised to see a shift in police attitude. [QUOTE]

POLICE ACTION OR RESPONSE IS NOT GOVERNED BY THE NUMBER OF PROTESTORS, BUT BY THE CONSTRUCTIVE ACTS CARRIED OUT BY A PERSON OR PERSONS THAT THE COPS HAVE BEEN BREIFED AS BEING THE TRIGGER FOR THE USE OF FORCE BEIT VOICE COMMANDS OR OTHER ACTION ON THE OFFICERS PART.

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE LIKE IN SEATTLE AND GENOA ONLY INCREASE THE CHANCE AND NUMBER OF INCIDENTS LIKE THE 16 YR OLDS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY. IN GENOA THE ORGANIZERS WERE FOCUS AND KEPT THE PROTESTORS FOCUSED ON WHAT THE GOAL WAS (ACCORDING TO WHAT I SAW IN THE MOVIE "A BOY NAMED CARLO") UNTIL A COMBINATION OF ACTIONS OF PROTESTORS AND COPS THAT NEITHER COULD BE PROUD OF NOR WAS CONSISTENT WITH EITHER SIDES MISSION. AGAIN, IT IS NOT JUST THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE PROTESTING IT IS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF GETTING OUT YOUR MESSAGE SMALL GROUP OR LARGE.

eX. THE ABU GRAHIB (SP) IN BOSTON DEMO WAS A SMALL GROUP AND I HAVE SEEN IT ON THE NEWS AND HEARD IT ON THE RADIO NUMEROUS TIMES AND THE MEDIA COMMENTARY IS SUPPORTIVE OF THE PROTESTORS METHOD AND MESSAGE.

THE POLICE ATTITUDE/ ACTION IS BASED ON THE EVENT SPECIFIC RULES OF ENGAGEMENT AND IN THE TERRORIST CONSCIOUS ATMOSPHERE THE COPS ARE THERE TO KEEP THE AREA SAFE FROM MAJOR ACTS OF A KIND THAT WOULD RESULT IN SWIFT AND SEVERE ACTION. NAME CALLING PROTESTORS ARE NOT TERRORISTS. THE COPS CAN'T BE BOTHERED.

[QUOTE]
by Dandelion
(No verified email address) 27 Jul 2004
We need to stop, now, all this debate about who is right and who is wrong in the tactics of yesterday. No one will be able to control the actions of these kids, and these kids will not be able to control other's actions either. Lead by example, not by force or authoratarian orders handed out durring an event.

Despite what many of you think, taunting the cops does very little to provoke violence. The cops are given orders to use violence, and when they do no amount of singing "give peace a chance" is going to stop them from bashing your skull. The cops you see out there are ordered to be robots, for about every five, or ten there is a senior robot, or Sergeant. They are briefed before hand and told if, or when to use violence. That order comes from above cia radio.

So, telling some 16 year old punk kid (who many of us were just like when we were 16 in some way or another), not to yell at the cops is pointless. The cops will do what they will do. [QUOTE]

I AGREE THAT YOU SHOULD LEAD BY EXAMPLE AND IF THE 16YR OLD TYPES ARE NOT REPRESENTING YOUR GROUP, WHEN THEY GET ARRESTED THE GROUP SHOULD CONTINUE PROTESTING YOUR MESSAGE AND DON'T GET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COPS AND THE 16 YR OLDS. DOING ANYTHING ELSE CAN MAKE THE GROUPS MESSAGE GET LOST IN THE SHUFFLE.

DANDELION'S UNDERSTANDING OF COP CHAIN OF COMMAND IS CLOSE TO REALITY. IF AND WHEN THE ORDER COMES DOWN TO "BUST HEADS" (CONTROL THE GROUP COPS CAN APPEAR TO BE ACTING LIKE ROBOTS TO YOU. IT IS BY DESIGN TO SHOW RESTRAINED, CONTROLLED AND SUCCESSFULL OPERATIONS. HOWEVER, EACH OFFICER HAS A THEIR OWN SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG AND OTHER FACTORS THAT AFFECT HOW THE ORDERS ARE CARRIED OUT. SOME DON'T WANT TO HURT ANYONE CAUSE THEY WILL HAVE TO FILL OUT REPORTS AND SHOW FOR COURT WHICH WILL BE A PAIN IN LATER DAYS AFTER THE DNC.

THERE ARE A LOT OF COPS THAT JUST WANT TO DO THE JOB WELL, GET PAID WITH AS FEW COMPLICATIONS AS POSSIBLE AND GO BACK TO REGULAR DUTY.


[QUOTE]
by yeah for real
(No verified email address) 27 Jul 2004
can i reiterate what i said. legal, permitted marchers are attended by people representing a wide spectrum of privelige, including people of color with legal discrimination risks, poor people with economic/bail risks, old people with health issues, aleins facing possible deportation etc, who really, really can't afford to get caught up in some juvenile tantrum where people get hurt/arrested and it is totally not 100% okay to bring that onto a march of this kind. and to say that what protestors do has NO affect on what cops do is nothing short of absurd. [QUOTE]

I AGREE "ABSURD"
[QUOTE}
by pete
(No verified email address) 26 Jul 2004
a complete bust? no way! one thing to remember when we are gathering for demos, protests, rallies is that the time and energy and spirit that we bring into our interactions do influence those near us as well as those far away. i can't be at the dnc but am thrilled to know that there are 16year olds learning what it means to protest - even being assholes, it's worth it in the long run. it's doubtful any of those kids will sign up to be a cop or go into the military, right?
i also think when energy gets low or folks are stagnating waiting for direction thats the perfect time to start sharing ideas for revolution. why not start an impromptu soap box rant?
in solidarity
pete [QUOTE]

YOU WOULD REALLY BE SURPRISED AT HOW MANY COPS AND MILITARY HAVE SO CALLED "CHECKERED BACKROUND" INCLUDING ORGANIZED PROTESTOR. THERE AREN'T MANY CHEIF OF POLICE THAT WANT COPS THAT NEVER GOT IN TROUBLE, THEY DON'T WANT SOMEONE PURE.

SHARE IDEAS TO GET THE MESSAGE OUT BETTER, NOT REVOLUTION.

i DON'T KNOW IF YOU'ALL HAVE SEEN, BUT, THERE ARE TROOPER , COPS AND FEDS FROM ALL OVER THE NORTHEAST AND THE FOCUS IS OBSERVE, IDENTIFY, INTERDICT/INTERVIEW AND TAKE ACTION AS NECCESSARY IN ORDER MINIMIZE THE POSSIBILITY OF A SIGNIFICANT CATASTROPHIC EVENT. INFORMATIONAL/PERFORMANCE ORIENTED PROTESTING ISN'T WHAT THE COPS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT. THERE ARE PROFILES OF CHARACTERISTIC BEHAVIOR AND/OR PERSONAL DISCRIPTORS THAT WILL GET ATTENTION AND WILL FOLLOW WITH DETAINMENT OR IF NECCESSARY ANY AND ALL ACTION TO ACHIEVE SAFETY.


YOU ALL ARE DOING WELL GETTING THE MESSAGE OUT, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
BOB GORMAN
UMASS STUDENT
RET. COP

ps I am still trying to figure out how to verify my email address.
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
30 Jul 2004
i was the man the police decided to search,i was searched 3 times durning the march and 1 later that night the first time i was confronted during the protest they stole my baseball bat well thats aboute it byby
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
31 Jul 2004
As far as the standing around thing goes, the groups need a charismatic leader who will get people to stay focused and follow an organized, energetic (nonviolent) agenda.

As far as what the cops are doing or not, it said on the news that the "cops" had 18 months of training for the dnc etc. I would guess maybe this meant using restraint unless provoked otherwise. And someone mentioned flag burning as a provocation, well we all see what happened Thursday afternoon.

If they can have a rally of one million prochoice people in DC with no violence or riots then I dont think its impossible with the right training and attitude that thousands of protesters at the DNC or RNC cant protest in a nonviolent manner and make their points.

Think about that for the RNC and I hope there is a huge turnout in NYC because Bush is truly the spawn of satan!
Re: Complete Recap of Monday's March for Civil Liberties and Against Police Brutality
19 Aug 2004
Sorry about the couple of of semantic screw ups, I was in a big hurry to put this up.
However, i'll defend what i said about Brunswick, where if the cops were not overtly violent, they definately had their moments. Granted, there was no use of chemical weapons i know of, but during the march on the final day i saw lots of under the table shit, like pigs pushing people off their bikes who were distributing water, the total beat down of everyone arrested while no one could see due to the massive police wall, and the national gaurd fuck heads pointing their M16's at us for kix. Comparitively, at least at this march, the cops were saintly- granted i feel that their presence is an act of violence, but i'd take the yankee cops over the redneck swine any day.
good
04 Jun 2006
Excellent site, added to favorites!!