The card someone handed me yesterday said that at 9 Public Enemy would be at Civic Center Park followed by a march at 11. In fact, at 10 there was a folk singer from Seattle on stage while the American Indian Movement got things set up. Several people spoke about racial issues and political prisoners in front of a crowd of 150 at the most. I wandered around and checked out the Pictures of You: Images from Iran
exhibit and checked out the Falun Gong marching band and float. Apparently, the Falun Gong marched down to the "Freedom Cage" to play music and hold signs about Chinese torture practices, but since that free speech zone is totally out of the way, nobody was there to hear their message.
At noon, the protesters marched down part of the mall and up to the Federal Building (10th Circuit Courthouse). Speakers talked about Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal, and other prisoner issues. 20 or so people did the march in orange jumpsuits and black hoods and then knelt by signs about Guantanamo prison. Someone gave a demonstration of waterboarding (but with a plastic mask over the face for safety). Turnout was pretty low; the march had about as many police (including 20 or so on horse) as protesters.
I wandered back down to the mall and came upon the Angry Christians Holding Signs intersection. Apparently there had just been a confrontation and a few dozen police officers were blocking portions of the intersection while one guy was arrested. There was a small crowd exchanging barbs with the "Homo Sex Is A Sin" crew, but police in the vicinity again outnumbered protesters. There was no police escort for the dozen or so Hillary Clinton supporters marching with signs and balloons on the mall. If march participation is any indication, Leonard Peltier has more support than Hillary Clinton.
After taking some pictures at the Code Pink "look at the absurdity of the freedom cage free speech zone that nobody can see" event, I made my way back to Civic Center where I had an interesting discussion at the Pictures of You installation with a guy born in Iran, a youth whose dad was an Iranian teacher, and a couple middle-aged white guys. Some of the conversation was taped for the documentary they're doing about the piece. I was also interviewed a couple times by the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post because I had a colorful hat. I can't find the parts of their websites the reporters were talking about, though.
On the inside-the-convention front, Michelle Obama's speech and the "candid" family interactions were quite deft political maneuvers. Republicans have had the upper hand in media savvy in recent times, but the Obama campaign are clearly an image force to be reckoned with.
Listening to KGNU
tonight, I learned that about 80 people got arrested tonight. Many of them were probably involved in "Unconventional Denver" actions to disrupt some of the 1200 DNC-related parties going on. The police strategy seems to be:
(1) Have heavily-armed police all over the place, standing around and looking imposing.
(2) If something happens, quickly form a large police barrier so crowds can't get in.
I think it's a better strategy than police have adopted at other major protest events in the last ten years, but it's kind of disconcerting to walk down the street with guys in SWAT gear standing around every thirty yards.
The number of folks "on the street" today was already pretty small; if a lot of folks get arrested, later events might be quite vacant. I hope enough people show up tomorrow to power all the street puppets.
Flickr only shows the latest 200 pictures on free accounts' photostreams, so 20 pictures I took yesterday aren't available. I grabbed links to all my photos currently available and stuck them in an ugly page on my site
in case you want to find something later. I'm posting to Flickr
this week mostly so I can participate in groups and tags. My gallery
will be the long-term home for these pictures.