Just As I Thought


I wonder why there hasn’t been more media coverage of the protests in New York? From everything I’ve seen in independent out-of-the-mainstream media as well as bloggers and the like, the protests were pretty big and harshly dealt with. They got only a token mention in a Washington Post article about Bush’s speech:

Though protests were generally calm, arrests exceeded 1,700 for the week — nearly triple the number from the violent 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. A judge ruled Thursday that the police illegally held hundreds of anti-Bush demonstrators without charges or access to lawyers for more than 40 hours.

There were even hecklers during his speech, which is pretty astounding — if the campaign can control the audience at his rallies, why can’t they control it at the convention?

Despite the party’s extensive orchestration efforts, Bush was twice interrupted by hecklers as he delivered his speech, first by a lone woman shouting, “Lies, lies, people die,” and then by several people who shouted when he brought up the subject of Iraq. Bush was momentarily distracted as the crowd drowned out the protesters with chants of “Four more years.”

There’s a single more detailed story about the detention of protesters:

Throughout this week, Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne had insisted that just a few dozen protesters had spent more than six hours behind bars without being charged or released. On Thursday, Browne acknowledged for the first time that large numbers of demonstrators endured long detentions. But he blamed them for overwhelming the police department.

“It’s a new entitled, pampered class of demonstrators who want to engage in civil disobedience but don’t want to be inconvenienced by arrest processing,” Browne said. “There’s a lot of reasons for a holdup. If you were in a group this morning, you are going to go through the process very quickly; if you were arrested with 200 people, it’s going to take longer.”

In all, police arrested more than 1,700 people, or nearly three times as many as were arrested in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which had far more violence. Police have used large orange nets and riot and motorbike squads to sweep up dozens of alleged protesters.

Michael Sladek, who owns a film production company in Brooklyn, was arrested in Midtown two evenings ago as he photographed the police and demonstrators. He spent 48 hours in custody without access to a phone before he was charged with obstructing a pedestrian — an administrative violation — and released.

“For us, it was very clear this was a detention to keep people off the street,” Sladek said outside the jail. “And the saddest thing was that so many people had nothing to with protesting the convention.”

There are a lot of people who are unhappy with this president and the path he has set our nation on. And despite their best efforts, the Republicans can’t always hide them or divert attention.

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