More on the NYC rally
Melanie in NYC adds to her previous report:
“Gone unreported in the New York media, no doubt due to the fact that lazy reporters are taking the word of government officials rather than talking to individuals, independent WBAI Radio (the only truly accurate coverage) reported several incidents of police brutality.
The police pushed crowds back threateningly on horseback, a very dangerous activity. A WBAI reporter called in from Lexington Avenue (3 long blocks from the 1st Ave. rally), saying that people had sat down in the streets because they weren’t allowed to move east to the area of the rally. She was pushed against a barricade by the police while on the air (obviously not resisting arrest, trying to move, or doing anything other than standing there – if they wanted her to leave, they would have had to help her find a way out of the enormous crowd), and she could barely breathe as she was pressed against the barricade.
She witnessed a man being thrown down on the pavement face first and toppled by four policemen. How many police would it take to detain one man? Two at most certainly, and climbing on top of him caused him to be injured and bloody. Then, because of the crowds, he had to wait 45 minutes for the emergency medical service to arrive. NONE of this has been reported anywhere else. The WBAI reporter (and I know people at WBAI and know they are honest and don’t make this stuff up) was there witnessing it as she was reporting via cellphone.
I, personally, did not witness any police brutality, but I heard one cop say something inane as crowds of protestors went by: “The pro-war protest starts at 3:00,” followed by laughter. Certainly not all NYC police officers are like this, but way too many are.
Their behavior at the concert for them after September 11 attests to that – booing people onstage. Despite the horrific job they had to endure cleaning up at the Twin Towers, there’s no excuse for booing those who came out to pay tribute to them.
As for the rally, if the police department had allowed people to move east to 1st Avenue, many of the problems that occurred yesterday could have been avoided. They could have allowed the crowds to simply overtake 1st Avenue as far north as necessary (traffic was impossible on that avenue anyway), rather than spilling over to stop traffic on FOUR avenues and causing the closure of the 59th Street Bridge in both directions (another fact that went unreported by the New York Times).
Of course, the best solution would have been to allow an actual march, which the City denied the protestors. For the next rally, perhaps they’ll learn that WE CANNOT BE STOPPED!
PS The policeman was referring to a bogus pro-war rally. I have heard from a friend, however, that a small number of people did indeed taunt and attack police officers. She observed it. So, there was bad behavior on both sides. They have probably made it so that we will no longer be able to get a permit for such rallies in the future.”
Some anarchists here did a breakway march. It was no big deal. A few arrests shouldn’t preclude the possibility of future permits.
Let’s see, NYC deliberately blocked the march permit, they set up barriers and pens everywhere to prevent people from getting to the rally area, then thumped people who were milling in the streets because they couldn’t get to the rally. Last time I checked people had the right to peaceful assembly.
Not only was the behavior of NYPD sometimes thuggish, they were clearly unprepared for the size of the crowd. Had they allowed a march permit and hadn’t blocked people from getting there, none of this would have happened. NYC was the only city to refuse a march permit.