a revist to the Miami FTAA protest

so those of you who know me well know that recently i have made a habit of going to political protests. primarily my partners and i have concentrated on anti-globalization and anti-republican events. this whole trend got started with the shocking treatment the Miami PD put us protestors through in November 2003.

to rehash for those who do not know: me and some friends went to Miami to witness the anti-FTAA protests (read about the FTAA here). the black-bloc anarchists showed up hours before the “real” march and soon the Miami PD was all over us. i guess they thought that a bunch of young kids dancing in the middle of closed streets and spray-painting a few surfaces was scary enough to form up a gestapo-like wall of riot-clad officers. suddenly a public street was closed to our presence and the cops forced us off this downtown street onto Biscayne Blvd (near Bayfront Park?). anarchists and others began to resist this push and police clubs started to fly along with this crowd control device that emits a rotten egg-like smell. soon, the jilted protestors began to dismantle an 8 foot steel fence that barred us from getting anywhere near the people we wanted to make an impact on. the police responded with flash-bang grenades and tear gas. and this was all before 10 AM.

anyway, by the end of the day police were firing willy-nilly into the crowds of people. finally after all this time something else has been said about the treatment we got that day (see article here).

the essence of all this madness? to me, it is simple and i argued it just like this with a random woman later that day:

her: these damn protestors showed up without a permit to march. the cops were forced to come out here because of it.

me: lady we do not need a fucking permit to march. the constitution promises these kids the right to redress their grievances against the government–it does not say that we have to get the fucking city of Miami’s permission before we do it.

her: well, what about the sticks some of them are carrying to wave their signs around? like that one? (she points at a black-blocer carrying a sign with a perfectly legal sized piece of wood, yes they passed city ordinances about the size of pipes and sticks prior to our arrival)

me: (noting the size of this particular boy’s stick) that is a perfectly legal size ma’am.

her: well, it still scares me.

me: well go home then.

course i did it with a lot less cussing. normal people listen better if you talk eloquently. plus, if the city is nice enough to hold the event i try not to abuse the natives.

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