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UMich protesters report from DC and Diag

21. January 2005 • Murph
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The Daily covers Michigan protesters’ experiences yesterday in Washington and in Ann Arbor, including being pepper sprayed,

One violent clash occurred during an evening demonstration near the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route. A group of protesters were angered by the long wait to enter the parade route — an area into which they said they had been told they would be allowed.

After the line extended several blocks, some protesters began to push, lift and even break the eight-foot steel fence that separated them from police.

To push them back from the fence, police began firing pepper spray. Some protesters left the scene red-faced, crying with bloodshot eyes.

and chased by riot police,

Immediately after this incident, the police called for backup. In a few minutes, a train of vans and squad cars arrived at the scene with 50 riot police who dismounted and headed toward the crowd. Moving in a solid black and blue line, they swept down the street, pushing away protestors — some running away while others were pushed down a street that ran into the parade route. Few were hit, and none were assaulted with pepper spray. Once they reached the end of the street, police reinforced the fence and assumed a defensive position.

Protesters began to taunt the police, goose-stepping, giving the fascist salute and yelling “Sieg Heil!� A few of these protesters staged a sit-down protest in the middle of the street in front of the police.

While police action may not have been completely without reason, “Few were hit,” is not exactly a high standard to hold the police to, and pepper spray as a first response seems a little extreme.

The Daily article goes on to discuss less exciting protests.

  1. If you saw video from the incident, pepper spray was an appropriate response.

    Honestly, if you don’t want to get pepper-sprayed, DON’T BREAK DOWN THE BARRIER. That barrier was there for the protection of EVERYONE. It was to keep the pissed off rednecks from beating the crap out of the whining hippies. It was to keep the violent hippies from attacking the motorcade and acting as if they were in a third world country. It was to keep the hippies from being pepper-sprayed by the Police.

    The Police were just doing their job. Imagine a letter carrier (postman) walking up to someone’s door. If a dog were to break loose of its chain and run at the postman, he’s going to pepper spray the dog.

    I saw the video. The protestors looked awfully violent when they broke through, and if you were a cop, you would have sprayed them too.
       —T.J.    Jan. 25 '05 - 06:20PM    #