A new wave of protests incites extreme measures
November 30-December 3, 1999
World Trade Organization meeting
o City creates 25-block no-protest zone. o Police rip up signs and confiscate copies of U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. o Protesters forced to remove stickers and buttons from their clothing. o WTO critic Victor Menotti arrested after attempting to speak to protesters in no-protest zone. o Hundreds arrested after police riot, shooting rubber bullets, tear gas, and pepper spray. o Police strap nonviolent protesters into restraint chairs as punishment for asking to see their lawyers.
International Monetary Fund--World Bank meeting
o Police conduct surveillance on activists and infiltrate meetings disguised as participants. o Police shut down organizing headquarters under pretext of fire hazard. o Police confiscate literature from protesters. o Police conduct mass arrests of more than 1,000 nonviolent marchers and bystanders.
Organization of American States meeting
o City council passes temporary ordinance prohibiting people from wearing gas masks or hoods. o Nearly 600 suspected activists prevented from crossing the border into Canada. o Protesters pepper-sprayed after hanging a banner on a fence. o More than 2,300 police mobilized at a cost of $3.34 million. o Seventy-eight arrested.
U.S. Supreme Court
The high court upholds a Colorado law that makes it illegal to come within eight feet of another person on public property for the purpose of passing a leaflet or handbill, or displaying a sign, or 'engaging in oral protest, education, or counseling' without that person's permission.
International Society of Animal Genetics conference
o Police barricade no-protest zone around Hyatt Regency, site of ISAG meeting. o Police set up surveillance of local activists prior to conference, sending out letters warning them that they're being watched. o City council considers passing ordinance prohibiting people from wearing gas masks; it is voted down. o Police conduct random searches of citizens walking through protest area. o Police use tear gas and pepper spray on protesters after forcing confrontation at a dead-end street near Loring Park. Eighty are arrested. o Police raid the home of a local community activist under the pretext of a drug search. Resident beaten and arrested for resisting arrest.
July 31-August 3
Republican National Convention
o City passes ordinance prohibiting people from wearing masks. o Entire city blocks made off-limits to protesters. o Police spy on and take photographs at meeting sites around the city.o Police barricade a warehouse rented by protesters to build puppets. o Court sets bail at $1 million for Ruckus Society leader John Sellers.
Democratic National Convention
o LAPD officers shoot rubber bullets and pepper spray at concertgoers who refuse to disperse. o Police record license plate numbers of out-of-state cars at protest headquarters, arrest protesters for jaywalking, and buzz the building at all hours with spotlight-shining helicopter. o Estimated cost of police presence: $10 million (or $500 to $1,000 per protester).
Sources: The Progressive (April and Aug. 2000), The New Republic (Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, 2000), Independent Media Center (indymedia.org).