Demonstrators get detained and cited for "jaywalking" after biotech rally

by rtf Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2001 at 4:37 AM

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As a group of demonstrators left the protest area in front of the Convention Center, they were being followed by police officers in vans, squad cars, and even 'undercovers' who were taking pictures. About 14 demonstrators in whole left the area together and were walking back with legal observers to Balboa Park. It had been about 8-13 minutes until two police officers drove their motorcycles on the side walk towards us and cut off our path. Then all of the sudden we were surrounded by another 25 police officers. They said we were being "detained", and all of us were going to be cited for "walking against a red light." (jaywalking). This was an obvious attempt to intimidate us because the so called "jaywalking violation" was completely bogus. They claimed one of their officers "whiteness" this "unlawful" act, however they couldn't tell us the name of the officer, nor where he could be found. They said that everyone had to give their name, or they would be arrested. One demonstrator refused to give his name and was put into handcuffs and put into the back of a police car. About 10 minutes he taken out of handcuffs and was given a citation. As if being completely surrounded, intimidated and detained by 25 police officers on a public sidewalk wasn't enough, they even decided to take more pictures of us. Completely disregarding our right to privacy, one police officer literally put his camera directly into peoples faces. When several legal observers politely asked that he stop video taping, he replied, "This is a public sidewalk." So here we were, surrounded by aprox 25 police officers with squad cars and motorcycles on a side walk, being detained and cited for something we didn't even do... Just earlier, as two other activists attempted to leave the rally outside of the Convention Center, they were ambushed by two undercover police officers who threw them into a police van and quickly drove off.

But this was only half of it. Police officers began harassing one of the anarchist demonstrators no later than a few minutes after he arrived at the Balboa Park. Around 8 officers approached him and told him they were going to search his backpack to make sure he "had no weapons". He asked why and they responded, "Because your backpack looks a little extra bulky". He then refused the search due to the fact that the there was probable cause. Previously they had harassed him in the parking lot about carrying an inverted american flag on a THIN metal pole. During the march, Blackbloc was also being followed by 2 undercover officers as well as the "Guardian Angles" (right-wing fascist group that works in conjunction with the SDPD). When talking to one of his "sidekicks" during the march, one of the "Guardian Angles" stated that if anyone crosses over the "police line," then they "let's beat the shit out of them." Police officers also tried to dress up as black bloc members in order to infiltrate the legal rally. It is suspected that the cops' intention was to incite violence: Eyewitness sources have reported that it was the police who started the violence last week at demonstrations in Sweden and last year in Prague. These witnesses saw the suspected police smash windows and then later associate fraternally with uniformed police.

Original: Demonstrators get detained and cited for "jaywalking" after biotech rally