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Police Intimidation Tactics Escalate

by IMC Print/Sarah Bania-Dobyns, Zoe Mitchell, a Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2000 at 7:49 PM

Police tactics during the first days of the convention.

The first day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) showed their ability to move in formation to demonstrate force over the activists.

The LAPD can do anything, said a Direct Action Network (DAN) security monitor during the Human Need, Not Corporate Greed/March for Our Lives, which ran from Pershing Square to the Staples Center.

During this legal march, which over ten thousand people participated in, police blocked intersections with forty or more officers in complete riot gear, and in some cases carrying rubber bullets, batons and tear gas. At various times the officers huddled to discuss their next tactics, unwilling to answer questions from media, DAN security or legal observers. There were also three helicopters circling the area from 4 p.m. on.

These tactics were not confined to the demonstrations in the streets. According to a local resident, Levi Stuart, police started blocking the streets two to three weeks before the convention. In addition, police arrested homeless people in the area.

[They are trying to] turn this city into a police state, Stuart said.

After the March for Our Lives, tension between the activists and police heightened when the officers took the activists puppets. One DAN security monitor said the police decided to take the puppets when they found the puppets unattended. The crowd continued to pressure the police to return the puppets until the Federal Department of Justice mediators intervened, telling the police to return the puppets.

Monday night was also the first occurrence of police tear gassing activists as they dispersed from the Rage Against the Machine concert, which concluded the march outside the Staples Center. Police proceeded to evacuate the square.

If you see any elements of police brutality or intimidation in the next week, please report them to the Independent Media Center (IMC) at 323-967-0003 and ask for dispatch.
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