Our adventure continues: Kevin and I decide to leave the arrests (see parts 1-2 and part 3) and wait to see if the cops were going to launch another offensive. The cops were behaving so bizarrely at this point, sort of lining up in formation and running around for no reason in long lines, that I must admit, I was more curious than scared of anything at this point. (A good twenty minutes had gone by since I'd seen a cop whack anybody with one of their clubs, after all.)
Kevin had already filled up his camera and really wanted to download his pictures to his computer so that he could take more shots. He felt "defenseless" without his camera, but the cops had just started trying to divert people off onto a side street, and were actually communicating with people for the first time since I had been present at the protest, so I was intrigued by this sudden opening of a communications channel between the cops and protesters.
--so I told him I'd meet him over at the Starbucks.
I walked up to the cop with the mega phone and asked him if it was now OK to stand on the sidewalk. He replied that actually, no it wasn't -- that he wanted us to move completely off Market Street over to Hyde or Ellis or somewhere or other (didn't really matter to me, because I had promised Kevin I would meet him back at the Starbucks, which was in the opposite direction, so I decided I'd better hurry before people were cleared off of the block entirely, if that was what was happening...)
On the way to Starbucks, I saw what was the only single incident of vandalism I witnessed the entire time I was downtown that day: a broken window of a Wells Fargo. (Perhaps this act of vandalism was why things had gotten so negative with the cops on that block?)
In the Starbucks, however, everything was normal. Oddly normal. Like nobody else but us was even paying attention to what was going on outside. Kevin and I watched the protest through a window as if it were a lifesized TV. And in a way, it was. It was TV where, if you chose to walk through a door, you would be part of the program.
When Kevin had downloaded his photos, we emerged from the Starbucks, and, magically, it was OK to stand on the sidewalk again!
However, things seemed to have heated up, and the cops continued to form in rather threatening formations without telling us why, or what we were doing wrong, or how we might make it better.
Posted by Lisa at March 25, 2003 07:44 AM