Sunday night, pull the Pinto into Safeway on Market. I have the sweetest parking space, one from handicapping.
Out of my car, hear the sirens, sounds, see the lights, not just a public safety sound and light show but closer angry chants and slogans - freedom and protection from oppressors, like the black clad cop squadron lines quickly flanking the thinning crowd. I sight torches, the energy level is high, cars and vans like reverse roach motels cops litter the street, alongside, behind the marchers.
"No Justice! No Peace!"I am pushed away from the protest onto the sidewalk by a cop - "Get on the sidewalk!" I am furiously scribbling.
Drive faltered, the crowd has been routed to a side street, residential, narrow, where a ring of cops has surrounded them. approx. 9.40pm
nothing like a PR-24 across the chest to piss you off.
Still on the sidewalk, observing, officer K. Martin nightstick chest pushes me onto street - "Get on the street!" - I am now part of the encircled throng. In fact, I'm incensed - nothing like a PR-24 across the chest to piss you off.
The crowd is stopped - directional energy channeled vocal, incensed -
"Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! End the Racist Death Penalty!"drums and chanting and high spirits, curtained by shoulder to shoulder riot geared police.
Our energy meets theirs, no potential for dialogue - what do people want? What is to be achieved?
We have stopped agitating for anything besides home - chanting "Let us disperse!"
While the crowd vociferously vocalizes, a young man weaves through the protestors crooning to the cops - "We understand you've got a job to do, and we thank you for be-ing coool."
The chant changes, to my alarm,
"[arrest] all of us or none of us!"Beyond the line of servants and protectors, I see journalists and onlookers being herded away.
"Malcom Martin Mumia!"The police seem to be encouraging physical contact, asking us to test them, so I start a chant -
"The longer you keep us here, the weirder this gets"The crowd, mixed youth and grunge, older activists, is being pacifically urged from within not to play into their hands.
A quieter gathering of folks is being outnumbered by arriving police teams ready for a riot, tight lines of baton weilding defenders of the social order.
The cops are standing in obvious battle position, ready to repel fierce freak attack.
Meanwhile, the crowd is singing, "Raaahxanne - you don't have to put on the red light..."
|Standing near crowd border, I hear Sgt. Cadigan (#470) walking behind his troops, encouraging militarism - "Expect a rush barrier - stand tight." - "If you get a little rush in front of you just hold it." - "Retain integrity." The cops are standing in obvious battle position - legs spread, batons pointed at us, ready to repel fierce freak attack.|
|Meanwhile, the crowd is singing, "Raaahxanne - you don't have to put on the red light..." Stairway to Heaven, I Left My Heart in SF, and laughing, "Bad Boys, Bad Boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you..."|
People have started sitting down - they are quickly picked up, plasticuffed, and lead away, and cops move in to take their place.
I hear some copspeak - "I've got an X and two Ys, gimme another X." - chromosomes, gender.
They have started assembly line rapid removal, taking one protestor at a time, plasticuffing them, photographing them, leading them into vans.
Several vans are filled, they bring in a bus. Public transportation, we ride for free.
I walk up to the front of the line, they take me in - "You are being arrested for attempted arson, urging a riot, and jaywalking." No discussion, no rights, just hands too tightly cuffed together, I smile wide, they're polaroiding me twice.
"You are being arrested for attempted arson, urging a riot, and jaywalking."