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Police trap peaceful protesters in Denver

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Story Transcript

TEXT ON SCREEN: "Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble." —US Constitution

Deeply Divided in Denver

by Davin Hutchins & Mike Fritz

CALL AND ANSWER: Tell me what a police state looks like. This is what a police state looks like.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Less than an hour earlier… On the first day of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, thousands gathered in a Denver park for a peaceful protest.

MAN: There are a lot of people here that are against Obama, and that’s the reason why: because he represents the interests of the ruling class.

SPEAKER: [inaudible] you know what? I think it’s great, Barack Obama, but you’re not my president.

WOMAN: You know, they’re disappointed with the idea of voting for the lesser of two evils. You ask them why he voted for the FISA bill, why he funded the war, why he reinstated the Patriot Act, why he gave retroactive immunity to these corporations that illegally spied on the US. I respect that people want some hope, and that’s what the conversation always ends up with: "I just really hope he kind of pares down what seems blatantly fascist under the Bush regime."

TEXT ON SCREEN: The city of Denver restricted protesting, allowing only official areas far from the convention center. Police were deployed all over Denver to ensure things didn’t get out of hand. Once the crowd began to march toward the convention center and police barricaded them… things got out of hand. Two ANP producers were there.

WOMAN: This is America! America! What are you doing?

TEXT ON SCREEN: After getting blockaded, the protesters took an alternate street to the convention center. The police surrounded the protesters on two sides and didn’t let them escape for two hours.

~~~

INTERVIEWER: You followed the crowd all the way from the park. What happened?

MIKE FRITZ, ANP PRODUCER: It was a massive crowd. It kind of reigned, chaos. The cops kind of closed everybody in here. I don’t know if people are even going to be able to get out.

~~~

MAN: They’re putting on their gas masks like they’re going to teargas us while we’re surrounded on fucking all three sides. We’ve done nothing except for march down the street, which is our fucking right.

DAVIN HUTCHINS, ANP MANAGING PRODUCER: The cops have surrounded the crowd right now so they can’t escape. They’re provoking the crowd.

~~~

MAN: [inaudible] protesting [inaudible] stand on the sidewalk, hand out leaflets.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, and you got trapped between these two police walls?

MAN: Exactly.

MAN: That’s what happened to me. I came down just to see what was going on. Now we’re trapped.

~~~

INTERVIEWER: You guys got to, like, let some people out or escape or something.

POLICEMAN: No way.

INTERVIEWER: You’re just going to arrest all 2,000 people?

~~~

WOMAN: Let us the fuck out!

CALL AND ANSWER: Whose streets? Our streets!

HUTCHINS: Alright. They kicked the press out. (They’re right behind you, Mike, right behind you, Mike.) They’ve already kicked out the official press. They used paintballs and pepper spray on people.

~~~

POLICEMAN: Go ahead, straight that way.

HUTCHINS: I’m being escorted out. Yeah, they just [inaudible]. Everyone’s escorted out. There’s still about ten protesters surrounded there.

POLICEMEN: Go! Go! Keep going! Keep going! [inaudible] interfere with the police. Keep going guys. Let’s go.

HUTCHINS: You guys have made real big news today.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.