I went to the protest yesterday in front of the state capital here in St. Paul – I rode my bike and had a very nice time.
I chatted with folks, had a coke, walked around and sat in the shade under a tree. There were lots of kids and very peaceful folks, I was enjoying myself immensely.
I began to get hot and tired, though – it was very hot here yesterday – and didn’t relish a long bike ride home while exhausted. I figured it was enough to attend the rally, I really didn’t need to participate in the march to the Xcel center.
So I rode/pushed my bike up the hill by St. Paul’s Cathedral, and just happened to pass a group of black-clad, masked folks (they looked like kids pretending to be anarchists)
I snapped a few shots of them as they strolled/ran past, surrounded with happy families and lots of kids. I loved this shot, “Disabled anarchist on the go!”
Then I rode home, stopping at our food coop for some groceries and The Yarnery for a ball of yarn.
I didn’t think much more about the march except to reflect on how nice everyone seemed, and what a good time I’d had (and how proud/tired I was after my 6.8 mile bike ride)
Gerry was volunteering for www.freepress.net doing sound and teleprompter at the convention last night, and called to tell me that Amy Goodman at Democracy Now had been arrested.
That was the first hint I had that any violence had broken out. The more I read, the more I think the catalyst may have been the masked group that I passed, in all the shots I’ve seen of folks throwing things they’ve been dressed like that group.
I know that everyone I’d met had been passionate, but very peaceful.
This group had a different vibe (but not alarming) and I wasn’t scared or anything when I saw them.
But they did seem very pumped up, enervated, a different feeling from the rest of the group back at the capital. I’m not saying they were wrong or right (I wasn’t there) but – as we all know – in heightened tension situations, it’s possible for provocative behavior to get out of hand.
Did that happen here? I don’t know. I was struck by how friendly, restrained and patient the police had been (riding around on bikes, chatting with folks) in the early part of the march.
But it also seems that 284 folks being arrested is a bit insane, given the peaceable spirit of the rally before the march. Oh, and I disagree that there were only 10,000 – I know there weren’t 50,000, but there were many more than 10,000.
See what happens when I leave you kids alone?