Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No pointed sticks

Arapahoe County has prohibited DNC protesters from carrying poles and sticks or wearing gas masks during protests in the county:

No large sticks and no poles. Those are the rules approved Tuesday by the Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners for protesters surrounding the Democratic National Convention.

The ordinance makes it unlawful for anyone in unincorporated Arapahoe County who is involved in a demonstration, rally or picket line or similar public assembly to:

possess any metal, hard plastic or wood object that is sharpened or that exceeds the allowed dimensions set forth in the ordinance (no longer than 2 feet)

possess any type of projectile launcher [that's a relief]

possess a gas mask

Demonstrators said they understand the need for safety, but believe this ordinance goes too far.

“A gas mask can never be used to hurt somebody, it is not an offensive thing,” said Glenn Spagnuolo with Recreate 68. “It can only be used to protect somebody from being injured.”

“In the unlikely event that law enforcement would have to deploy chemical agents to either relocate or move an unruly or disruptive crowd,” said Sheriff Robinson. “Certainly anyone who has donned a gas mask would be counterproductive to our efforts.”

Spagz deploys the giant puppet defense:

“At these protests we use extremely large puppets to try to get across a political message and stuff,” said Spagnuolo. “The only way to hold those up are with poles and PVC piping and stuff like that. So now they want to try to minimalize the visual effect we would have.”. . .

Why Arapahoe County?

Sheriff Robinson said he anticipates protestors at several hotels in his county where delegates are staying during the convention.

This ordinance only covers Arapahoe County, but both Spagnuolo and the sheriff anticipate the city and county of Denver will pass a similar law before august.

Spagnuolo said he would fight any such ordinance in Denver.

More: The News asks, in an expansion of its original story on Tent State being issued a permit for City Park:
But what about portable toilets, showers and dining alfresco for 20,000 young people?

Jung hopes the city will provide the outhouses. He plans to ask churches and like-minded Denverites to welcome folks in for showers. As for food, the group will issue participants a list of recommended organic, enviro-friendly local restaurants.

Ultimately, the group must meet a long list of city requirements, including plans to provide security and bathrooms, control concert noise, and monitor alcohol use and parking.

Opinions of several people at the park Tuesday ranged from skeptical to accepting to blase at the prospect of a tent city going up.

Paul Plavetzki, a four-year resident of the neighborhood, had plenty of questions.

"Who is basically paying for the use of the park?" he wanted to know. "If the city of Denver has to recoup all the costs, who's going to pay for restoration?"

His friend, Matt Pickett, was not as concerned. "So long as it doesn't affect me, just do what you want to do," he said.
Update: Pointed sticks.

Update II: Nader: Obama "talking white"; says he will be in Denver for convention.

Update III: The city has released a "redacted" copy of its jail manual to the ACLU:

The ACLU sued the city last month over the manual, citing concerns that the jail was unprepared to handle the anticipated onslaught of protester arrests during the Democratic National Convention.

The ACLU cited complaints about operations at the jail, including misidentification of people arrested and the death of Emily Rice, who bled to death at the jail from internal injuries after she was arrested for DUI following a traffic accident. . . .

People have been mistakenly arrested due to misidentification, inmates have been "lost" at the jail as a result of internal misidentification and unnecessary delays persist in releasing persons after they have posted bond, he said.

The ACLU will examine the policies, Silverstein said, to see if the problems at the jail are the result of inadequate policies or failures to follow policies already in place.

The ACLU also is concerned that the jail will be overwhelmed by the mass arrests expected during the Democratic National Convention and won't be able to meet inmate needs for food, toilets, medical care and attorneys.

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