Thursday, April 17, 2008


Chuck Plunkett of the Post:

Protesters will not be confined to "cages" during the 2008 Democratic National Convention and the city wants to get away from the long lines of shoulder-to-shoulder, riot-gear-clad police that typified security at the national conventions in Boston and New York, Denver city councilman Charlie Brown said today.

"We don't want to provoke violence," Brown said. "We don't want to provoke violence."

Sounded so nice, he said it twice. But what does it mean, exactly? Is Denver going to let protesters stay overnight in city parks? Who knows, but Brown was definitely going for kinder and gentler™ rhetoric:

Brown said he talked with Mayor John Hickenlooper Wednesday and the two discussed "trying to get away from having lines of police officers.". . .

And replace them with what?

The councilman made his comments before a group of about 50 law students and others at the University of Denver law school, where local law groups are sponsoring a four-day series of workshops and discussions that offer training and tips for activists and protesters planning to demonstrate in and around convention week.

Brown participated in a noontime panel discussion with Glenn Spagnuolo, a representative for Re-create 68 . . .

Spagnuolo had charged that Denver planned to keep protesters as much as a mile away from the Pepsi Center, where the convention is to be held, saying he had it "on good authority" that the security perimeter would extend in a mile radius around the arena. . . .

Details of the perimeter have not been released, but Mike Dino, who leads the Denver committee responsible for hosting the convention, told a group of business executives at the Pepsi Center this morning that the mile radius was a rumor that was not true.

Brown said he expected details of the perimeter to be released in six to eight weeks.

Spagnuolo has said the city "is creating a very dangerous situation" because it awarded, in a blind lottery, a permit for Civic Center on the Sunday before the convention begins to the host committee's party planner. But he has also said the group is nonviolent, and he repeated that claim several times today.

Camera hunt!
"They're trying their hardest to repeat a mantra that this group is going to engage in violence," Spagnuolo said. "That's a distraction to avoid focusing on the real violence that our country is perpetrating around the around the world."
The Troofer piece on R!68 I linked to yesterday called Glenn "charismatic." He's original, too. And articulate.

Update: No, I'm not going to link to a racier "cheerleader" site.

Update II: The left blog "Not My Tribe" has a take on the Spags/Brown faceoff:
Glenn Spagnuolo of RECREATE-68 held his own against Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown at a symposium held today at the University of Denver. Asked whether the use of shields constitutes non-violent protest, Spagnuolo told of the permanent injuries which Police have inflicted at previous demonstrations, such as at the FTAA, and he described Denver’s newly requisitioned equipment such as shotguns which fire long distance tasers (XREP) and ear-piercing weapons systems (LRAD), while Councilman Brown stressed the importance of protecting the upcoming DNC from the threat of terrorism.

The City of Denver refuses to release its security plan, to preempt a timely legal challenge. According to Spagnuolo, the city is considering a mile wide perimeter around Pepsi Stadium [sic]. Spagnuolo also clarified that Recreate-68 is not calling for repeating the violence of the 1968 Chicago convention, but instead hopes to re-activate the public to the level of engagement it exhibited in 1968, when the same Democratic Party refused to heed the will of the people to stop funding the illegal war in Vietnam. As history repeats itself forty years later, the anti-war movement has yet to summon the courage of the American people.
On Spagnoodles:
Glenn Spagnuolo comes to Recreate-68 with experience leading to arrest and acquittal in demonstrations in 2005 and 2007 against the Columbus Day parade. He’s worked with the South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, ACT-UP, and against the FTAA in Florida.
Actually Glenn wasn't acquitted in the 2007 protests; the charges were dropped.

Update: Slapstick Politics has posted the vid of Charlie Brown debating Spagnuolo on Jon Caldara's show last week.

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