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(en) US, Boston, Fifth Day of Protests, July 29th

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 31 Jul 2004 21:04:26 +0200 (CEST)

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To close the protests against the DNC, the police decided to
attack the protesters. Tension mounted all day, starting with the
100-person Critical Mass bike ride at 8:30 am, which was trailed
by a dozen bike cops. During the course of the day, there were
also a number of independent actions by affinity groups.
Throughout the day, activists reported being tailed by undercover
police, a helicopter hovered above the Convergence Center, and
several activists were temporarily detained and searched by the police.

A permitted No Blood for Oil March, of 100-150 people,
left Copley Square at 1:00, swelling to 500 as they marched
towards the Fleet Center, site of the DNC. Upon arriving at
Government Center, near the Fleet Center, a stand off with the
police ensued, with the police eventually attacking protesters (on
the excuse of a non-existent Molotov cocktail), arresting three
people and sending at least one protester to the hospital.

The protesters were released after six hours of jail solidarity work.
Then final protest of the day was a queer kiss-in at 6:30.

Thursday, July 29th was the last day of protests against the
Democratic National Convention (DNC) and the leadership of
the Democratic Party, which is increasingly conservative and out
of touch with its grassroots base. The police presence remained
over the top and tension mounted throughout the day as police
followed and harassed activists, ending with an unprovoked
attack by the police on protesters near the site of the DNC.
The protests started at 8:30 am, with a 100-person Critical Mass
bike ride leaving Copley Square, followed by a dozen bike cops
and some motorcycle cops. At one point in the ride, one of the
motorcycle cops rammed one of the bikers, wrecking his bicycle.
The goal of Critical Mass bike rides is to allow bicyclists to have
control of the street for once and promote biking as an alternative
to pollution-generating cars as a form of transportation. After the
Critical Mass was over (ending where it began, in Copley
Square), many activists reported being tailed by sometimes
painfully obvious undercover police. Later in the day, a helicopter
began to hover over the Convergence Center, and several
activists were temporarily detained and searched in at least two
separate cases.

Following the end of the Critical Mass at 10:00 am, a No Blood
for Oil rally began, calling for an end to the US occupation of
Iraq. Although the permit was originally obtained by the Black
Tea Society, the rally and ensuing march were actually organized
by the Green-Rainbow Party, the Anarchist Black Cross, and
Homes Not Jails. They left Copley Square on a permitted march
at 1:00 pm, 100-150 people strong.

During the course of the day, a number of independent actions
by affinity groups took place, as part of the Day of Action.
Following are some of the ones that were reported to the IMC.
Two different groups managed to disrupt DNC meetings--the
affinity group Democrats Are Not Change (DANC), voicing its
opposition to the war, and the Party Crashers affinity group, who
unfurled a banner promoting anarchism. Another affinity group
trashed the GAP, in an action meant to draw attention to
connection between the Democratic Party, globalization and
sweatshops. At the Marriott Hotel, where the Arizona delegation
to the DNC was staying, an affinity group set up a mock border
checkpoint, denying delegates entry to the US from

As the No Blood for Oil march reached Government Center at
3:30, near the Fleet Center (site of the DNC) and the fenced-in
"Free Speech Zone", their number swelled to 500 people. A
stand-off with the police ensued, during which some protesters
set fire to a two-faced effigy--one face that of Kerry, the other
that of Bush. Eventually, the police attacked the protesters with
their clubs, arresting three (photos) and sending one woman to
the hospital with a head injury. The excuse for the attack and
arrests was a Molotov cocktail--which like every such case at a
past protests turned out to be non-existent. The IMC has
received conflicting reports about what it actually was--an empty
bottle, a paper mache Molotov cocktail, and even a paper mache
pirate hook worn by a member of the Pirate Bloc. During the
police attack, a group of protesters tried cutting the fence around
the "Free Speech Zone" with bolt cutters; the police confiscated
the bolt cutters but did not arrest them. The police ended the lock
down of Government Center at 4:00 and the assembled activists
began to leave around 4:20. After six hours of jail solidarity work
the three arrested protesters were released.

The day ended on a more festive note, with a queer kiss-in by
60-70 people at Fanueil Hall at 6:30 pm, organized by the group
Radical Queer DNC, a group trying to move the gay rights
movement beyond a single issue agenda to embrace other
movements for social justice. Chants included, "Keep your laws
off my body!" and "Make out, not war!"

[Editor's note: Photos of the Critical Mass taken by a St. Louis
IMC member and originally posted at
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/24841/index.php .
Photos of arrestees taken by Just1pin and originally posted at
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/25135/index.php ]


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