Sunday, August 29, 2004


You have probably read that, of the roughly 5,000 bicyclists riding in the Critical Mass demonstration in NYC on Friday, police arrested between 100 (the NY Times estimate) and "nearly 250" (AP); blogger Joshuah Bearman puts the figure at an authoritative-sounding 264, adds pictures, and opines that it "didn't have to go down that way" (thanks to our esteemed colleague Shaula Evans of Tsuredzuregusa, which we just typed without even having to look it up, for the tip).

Prometheus 6 is on the scene in New York. An e-mail he posted yesterday contains words of warning for any readers who may be planning to join in the protests (or watch them from nearby):
I wouldn't count on anything being safe, considering that the reports of the arrests last night (I've heard variously 250, 250+, and 264) were mostly in the East Village. I haven't heard too many details yet (I live in the West Village) except that all you had to do was be there whether you had a bike and were part of the demonstration or not -- at least one legal observer was arrested, and who knows how many pedestrians who were there because it was a nice evening and that's where you go. Damn! If the Republicans want arrests to make the Democrats look bad, they're gonna get arrests, regardless. "Critical Mass" has been doing these bike rides for months with no problems.
Today he was at the RINGOUT WTC/Ground Zero observance:
And fluorescent lime green baseball caps were everywhere. Those were the legal observers and tomorrow they will be important. If you're out protesting or even just watching keep your eyes open for lime green baseball caps and if crap jumps off, get behind the observers.

I should probably be talking about the demonstration (as opposed to protest march, as opposed to civil disobedience which none of this actually is) but there were more cops than necessary for such a quiet display. All the really needed was a few traffic cops to keep the sidewalks clear. And I overheard a sergeant saying something like 200 cops were there. Also overheard one talking about they could send most of them home…that was a good thing.

But several times three, four patrol cars howled up Church Street like something was going on in SoHo…not unlikely. And the ferry was delayed ten minutes due to "circumstances beyond our control." And a cop was standing, I don't know the nautical name of it, but the ferry has like a porch on either side and the cop was standing on the roof of the porch with an M-16. Yes, I recognize the weapon.

And I know what I'm going to do tomorrow and do NOT want to take picture of folks getting hurt.

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