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Standing at 16th St & Champa: Stories from the DNC in Denver

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Standing at 16th St & Champa in Denver, I looked straight ahead to see a band of Christofascists standing in the middle of the street cordoned off by a group of police. The Christofascists were holding signs that read, “Homo Sex is Sin”, “Repent the Wicked”, “Real Americans Love Sean Hannity, O’Reilly, and Fox News”, and one very long one that said, “Warning: Baby Killing, So-Called Christians, Porno Freaks, Muslims, Drunks, Homosexuals, Party Animals, Rebellious Women, Liberals, Jesus Mockers, Sex Addicts, Mormons---God Will Judge You!”

The spectacle being put on by the Christofascists was enough to hold anybody's attention, but it was even better. Opposite the Christofascists were a bunch of protesters holding signs that expressed antiwar and anti-imperialism sentiments.

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The two were going at each other despite the intimidating police presence. A few of the Christofascists even were crossing into the group of protesters. That was when things got hairy.

The police and protesters became embroiled in a heated exchange. I do not know what set it off. But, I saw what looked like a tug of war game being played out as a policeman pushed on somebody while that somebody pushed back. It take time for that somebody to lose to the policeman and end up being wrestled down to the ground by the police offer.

As the police officer wrestled the person down, you could see a wave of people falling backward as the brute force of the officer came down on the protester.

What happened next I feel was a blessing for anybody looking to organize against this program that has brought battalion after battalion of police to Denver to “secure” the convention for Democrats. People who have had nothing to do with protests so far and who were just innocent bystanders trying to get to some place began to question the police control of the area.

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I heard someone point out the horses, the rifles, the tear gas, etc. and then say, “And it’s all for one person, right?” One person. And most likely he had a bandana on and was an “anarchist” or really an anarchist because the police do not like those.

But, there’s a reason that police have come after anarchists. There's a reason I overheard a Legal Observer telling somebody that the police surrounded a group of ten to twenty "anarchists" who were on one corner lost in Denver and after pinning them down, put them in a van and carted them away. There's reason police detained them. 

While I do not like to stick up for them because they primarily are people who just want to provoke the police and get arrested, the targeting of anarchists or even so-called anarchists is all a part of a campaign in the Denver area to discredit activists and protesters in general who would even dare to take to the streets to challenge the system.

Anarchists are easy to discredit. As I’ve heard before, if you’re not for capitalism & government, than what are you for?

And as the anarchists go, so goes the movement that takes to the streets. And so goes the people who are watching this all on television portrayed as an act to disrupt their lives and make it difficult for them to live while we are in Denver speaking out against both Democrats and Republicans.

I attended an “An Evening of Conscience: No Attack on Iran” presentation organized by the World Can't Wait at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theater last night. The presentation included speakers Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney, Col. Ann Wright, Ron Kovic, Jeremy Scahill, Pam and Ramona Africa, Sunsara Taylor, and others.

The event was kicked off by Phil Aliff from Iraq Veterans Against the War who started his speech with, “If people in Denver didn’t know that we were here before, they know now.” He went on to say:

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“Without LBJ, without a president who was able to expose the actual brutality of the Democrats’ foreign policy and willingness to chip away at social programs at home, there may not have been thousands of activists crashing the party’s convention in 1968 in a way that inspired millions around the world.”

And said later in his speech, “Without organizations moving with the current, the movement will be set back in ways similar to the 2004 election.”

That idea was seconded by Col. Ann Wright, who resigned after foreseeing that Iraq would be a disaster. She said, “What we have to do? What we have to be able to do is on Election Day we better be ready to go to the streets. On Inauguration Day, we better be ready to go to the streets. That time in between the Election and the Inauguration if you look at the George Bush Family history, that’s when George Bush went into Somalia. After he had already been defeated, he took us into Somalia.”

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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