- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Doug Saunders
Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 11:53 AM
Eye witness account of the Staples Center ambush by Globe and Mail's LA correspondent, Doug Saunders. The Globe and Mail is Canada's national newspaper
Staples rally: Three Cheers for the Canadian Press!
[The Globe and Mail is Canada's national newspaper. Doug Saunders is its LA correspondent]
Truncheons in the dark drown out sunny message:
As Clinton spoke words of hope, the riot police swung into action
The Globe and Mail
Metro page A1
LOS ANGELES -- The taste of tear gas did not begin to tickle my throat
until Rage Against the Machine was near the end of its set. Bored by
Hillary Clinton's drone, I had stepped outside the Democratic National
Convention to catch a protest concert by Rage, a band whose mestizo rhythms are an embodiment of the new Los Angeles.
They did not disappoint. Zack de la Rocha's strident voice carried an
optimistic message of democracy, and Tom Morello's fuzz-box funk left the crowd shaking in the pit where the stage was set up. With half a dozen helicopters buzzing close overhead and razor wire surrounding the 100-metre-wide fenced-in pit, it was a fitting venue for the band, whose latest album is titled The Battle of Los Angeles.
Rage finished its set. Satisfied and placid, the audience began to wander out of the pit through its single, narrow exit. An ad hoc Latino combo began playing solid grooves onstage, and the remaining crowd, about 1,000 kids, began to dance.
Over by the fence, a few dozen troublemakers had been tossing water bottles and debris over the fence, taunting police and setting small fires on the asphalt, since about half way through the Rage performance. The police had answered with some shots of tear gas and pepper spray, enough to give the air an acrid sting. It was typical rock-and-roll machismo, and about 200 people stood around to watch the skirmish.
I listened to President Bill Clinton's speech from inside the arena on my Walkman as the band played. The stench of pepper spray was becoming
overwhelming, so I moved closer to the stage. Mr. Clinton uttered a line borrowed from Harry Truman: "If you want to live like a Republican, you better vote for the Democrats."
At that instant, the power to the concert was cut. A voice came over the speakers.
"This is Commander Brennan of the Los Angeles Police Department. We declare this to be an unlawful assembly. We command all protesters to disperse. You are now in contravention of section 409 of the California Criminal Code."
The troublemakers, wearing anarchists' black hoods, linked arms and ran through the exit.
The concertgoers remained, milling about and confused.
The single narrow exit was blocked by riot police.
"Now, we're also more hopeful because we ended welfare as we knew it. Now those who can work must work," Mr. Clinton was saying.
Cdr. Brennan repeated his warning. Another phalanx of riot police, these on horseback, appeared at the exit, and slowly moved toward the crowd, pinning us against the opposite fence. Nobody knew where to go. There was a stronger stench of tear gas.
"We are a more secure country because we cut crime with tougher
enforcement, more than 100,000 new community police officers," Mr. Clinton was saying.
Cdr. Brennan, meanwhile, was repeating his warning for the third time, but the crowd still did not know where to go. About 20 minutes had passed since the power had been cut.
Then the mounted officers charged, clubs swinging. The crowd panicked and ran. My wife, who has been in riots before, held my arm and reminded me that running is the worst thing to do. This entailed a difficult act of restraint because the horses were gaining on us, and I could hear clubs hitting heads immediately behind me.
"Now, the American military is the best trained, best equipped, most
effective fighting force in the world," Mr. Clinton said. "Any adversary who believes those who say otherwise is making a grave mistake."
The police and their horses drove the crowd straight into a long line of riot police on foot. They were kneeling on the ground with shotguns aimed at us. We were pressed into a narrow gauntlet about four metres across. I heard a pop, and sparks and smoke emerged from a shotgun muzzle. There were more pops, dozens of them. A man beside me keeled over in pain. I saw hard rubber pellets the size of marbles on the ground. Those who moved back from the shotgun fire were clubbed by the officers on horseback.
Some of us raised our arms in the air, moving to kneel on the ground. The riot police advanced forward, cursing us and clubbing people randomly. Those who asked for help finding an exit were clubbed repeatedly. The narrow street exit suddenly cleared, and we moved through the gauntlet toward it.
My wife and I escaped just as the horses advanced again, trampling people as they went. We saw a man pinned under a horse, his friends trying to pull him out.
Mr. Clinton burst from my headphones. "My fellow Americans, are we better off today than we were eight years ago? You bet we are. You bet we are."
The crowd was corralled into a city street, slowly moving away from the arena. There was nowhere to move but forward. More pops filled the air -- they were firing rubber bullets into our backs from behind.
There was more panic and running. An 11-year-old girl was struck in the back and fell. A group of cameramen sheltered an unconscious, older man struck in the chest. A group of people tried to hoist an injured man over a fence. The police fired in their direction. Those who lingered behind to help the injured were clubbed repeatedly.
"Remember, whenever you think about me, keep putting people first. Keep building those bridges. And don't stop thinking about tomorrow," Mr. Clinton said.
The dreadful Fleetwood Mac song by the same title -- Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow -- then filled the stadium. The Democrats filed out, staring at the field of debris, rubber bullets and bloodstained clothes.
"It's all right if they want to protest," one woman said, surveying the scene, "but do they have to litter?"
Report this post as:
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
More Local News...
Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service
The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally!
The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder
Paraphysique de la dictature étatique
Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"
The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia
Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine
The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally!
“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize!
The World Dependent on Central Banks
Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine
March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update
Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel
ICE contract with license plate reader company
Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes
Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges
Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes
Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety
Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man
Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes
Paraphysique de l'autorité
Two Podcasts on fbi corruption
Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS
EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens
The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally!
Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80
More Breaking News...