Saturday night, June 23, Columbus anti-war protesters were attacked by the police on "grounds" that the march was "illegal."Reportedly the police have launched similar attacks on other "disruptive" groups and individuals at other venues this year with no media coverage.
I was not present at the protest. Arawak City SDS, however, videotaped much of the march. You can watch two versions of its video on Google. The police pepper spay attack on demonstrators and passerbys, starts about 14 minutes into the long tape;about 9 minutes into the short tape. Go to Google Video and type in "Comfest anti-war protest" This is important stuff.
Monday night longtime Columbus activist Chris "the Anarchist" Ryan recounted the police attack to Columbus City Council.
Comments to Columbus City Council (please distribute them freely):
On Sat night, at about 11:15 PM, the Columbus Police Department maced me. When I was assaulted by the police, I was obeying the law. I was subjected to a chemical warfare attack while observing an anti-war demonstration.
This was at the corner of Park St & Spruce, while it was closed to traffic and open to pedestrians. The police wanted to clear the streets of an illegal demonstration. I want to point out that where the police attacked me, there was nothing illegal happening, because the street had been closed to cars.
I remind council that the people have a right to demonstrate.
I have subsequently learned that the police had announced, prior to the event, that they were PLANNING this assault. This same police department used chemical warfare against the Latino Fest. A check with nightclub owners on Park St. shows that the police routinely use chemical weapons to clear Park St after Last Call.
What does this say about the Columbus Police?
What about the City of Columbus?
I say it sets a VERY BAD example. A very bad example indeed. Especially when you consider that the majority of people who were attacked had nothing to do with the attack.
When the police started spraying mace, most of the demonstrators had run away, leaving the majority of the victims being people lined up to get into the Park St. bars, and customers on the patio at Bar Louie!
This is improper, illegal, unjustifiable, uncalled-for, and just plain WRONG!
But I don't suppose anything will be done, because recent history shows a determined bent by the local authorities to misbehave in a chronic, ongoing, and predictable fashion.
Shame on you Columbus.
Shame Shame Shame.
How long before we see the likes of Kent State AGAIN?
Probably not long.
So unless you WANT a horrible debacle, one that gives the city a bad reputation, y'all better get down to FIXING your BROKEN POLICE!
That;s all. Thank you very much and goodnight.
Still stinking of mace,
Chris "The Anarchist" Ryan
PS- I was positively encouraged to hear that Councilor O'Shaughnessy's kid
was in that demo & got maced as well. I know this because Ms O'Shaughnessy
told everyone in City Council about it after my speech.