Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Authoritarianism Is A One Way Street

An account from the comments section of that story:

I was there! Just taking pics, but I decided to gtfo when somebody yelled gas
and I saw a cop holding said gas cannister.

Basicly the protesters went into the street in front of the City & County building and the cops wern't keen on it, so they started lining up and telling
everyone to get back on the sidewalk, at which point somebody hit the deck in
the street (pepper spray perhaps?) and a mob sort of formed from there. It was
about that point that I whipped out my camera and at the same time my boyfriend
and I both got shoved by a couple of riot cops for doing nothing more than
standing there. We would have moved if they said so, but you know Denver cops,
violence for no real reason. From there the protesters bolted across the park,
past the Seal Fountain, across Colfax and started heading down 15th. Some kid
pulled one of the road closed signs into the middle of the intersection of 15th
and Colfax and the mob made it about a block or two before the cops cut them off
and they sort of got cornered against a building. It was soon after that I heard
somebody yell gas and to run, so I joined a small herd of people in running
cause getting pics is one thing, getting gassed...not so keen on it.

Contrast that story, where the cops motivation is to keep the street open, with my eyewitness account of what happened on the 16th Street Mall earlier in the afternoon.

I was on the Mall Shuttle, heading down to Wyknoop where the "Big Tent" is located. Many powerbloggers like Kos, Greenwald, the crew from FireDogLake and so forth are down there and I wanted to see if I could catch any of them. Well, the Shuttle stopped and there was this huge ruckus.

Notice that the cops didn't pepper spray the hateful fundies. Nope they protected them, and let them block the Mall for a good 20 minutes! One person was arrested at this incident - and you guessed it, he wasn't one of the fundie whack jobs.

Also, after this pepper spray ruckus in fornt of the Civic Center, the cops asked RTD to shut down the Mall Shuttle for an extended period:

Police officials asked RTD to shut the 16th Street Mall bus shuttle service
shortly after 7 p.m., said RTD spokesman Scott Reed. The mall service resumed
around 9:30 p.m
So it's abundantly clear to me that the cops interest was not the free flow of traffic.
If you wish to agitate or protest in accordance with the right wing agenda, no matter how extreme, you have the blessings of the authoritarians. If you wish to agitate or protest against that right wing, you get pepper sprayed and taken to jail.
Freedom of Speech - it's a one way street my friends.